Already a fiercely fought series, the level of competition on the DiRT Rally 2.0 platform is expected to increase, particularly from Japanese entrants.
Avid gamer and last year’s actual event winner Mike Young, driver of the Cusco prepared Toyota C-HR, says he’s finding the game a new challenge but does let slip one piece of advice:
“Hopefully my experience of the rally might help me as the DiRT Rally game is much harder than doing it in real life. It does tend to rain a lot in Hokkaido and even snow sometimes. In the game you must take the right tyres for the conditions – so I’ll be keeping an eye on the weather.”
Starting at 00:00hrs on Saturday 23 May NZST (12:00 Friday 22 May GMT) contestants have 24hrs to contest the day’s eight special stages. The event starts with a Friday night warm-up before switching to the daytime stages. Following a service break three stages are repeated to round out the first day.
Repeating the theme for Sunday’s eight special stages, competitors will again have a 24hr period in which to complete them and get to the finish.
Feedback from competitors after the inaugural round, the Online International Rally of Whangarei, was the level of realism. Having to consider tyre choice and driving style to ensure finishing while being competitive left many realising how true to form the itinerary was.
While prominent drivers like Hayden Paddon set fast times, the difference in experience by those more active in the racing game simulator world highlighted how competitive the series is.
Support from the organisers of the 2020 Rally Hokkaido, scheduled to run in September, has boosted the series profile within Japan. Using the social media tag #RaceAtHome competitors and spectators can participate from the comfort of their home.
Updates will be posted to the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship Facebook during the weekend.