Last 26th of May, at Silverstone during the Speedmachine festival, the final of the DiRT World Championships, on DiRT 4 took place. The Oscaro eSports by SDL team was present. Amongst them, the winner, Joona Pankkonen.
He was the youngest of the six DiRT World Championships, and still… At only 17 years old, the Finn, Joona Pankkonen, alias “Oscaro Joona P”, became the first world champion of the rally simulation game DiRT 4. At his side, two other members of the Oscaro eSports team, Spanish Alejandro Aroca Garcia, named “Oscaro BillyCherokee”, and a Frenchman, Quentin Dall’Olmo, “Oscaro Quinto”, who respectively finished 2nd and 4th, after four rounds of competition (two rallies, two rallycross). An exceptional performance when you know that at the beginning, they were more than 20 000 participants.
Last April, the three drivers made their mark by finishing first, second and third of the semi-final. The protégés of Kévin Leaune, the team manager, presented themselves at Silverstone as the big favourites of the final. Joona, newly-crowned world champion explains to us how he prepared the event: “I went to win. I knew i was one of the best. A lot of people had bet on me.”
Confident in himself, in his qualities, he proved to his opponents that he could manage the pressure despite the stakes: “If you watch the replay of the final, you’ll see. I was relaxed. What’s happening to me is awesome.” Already king of his discipline, the young Finn is not losing sight of the future, and he is not lacking any ambition: “I am going to continue playing DiRT, and maybe i’ll win the next championships. I hope i can also get opportunities in real racing”.
From passion to dreams?
A chance in the real world, Joona will have thanks to his win in the DiRT World Championships. In addition to winning a Acer Predator Orion 9000 Gaming PC, a DiRT Playseat and a Thrustmaster wheel, the 17 year old simracer has won the chance to test an RX2 Rallycross car.
“I don’t exactly know when this will happen, in a month i think, it is really cool” confides Oscaro Joona P, underlining that he prefers rallying to rallycross. He goes on: “I love Ott Tanak, even if he isn’t Finnish (but from Estonia), i love his driving style. It would be a dream to become a racing driver.”
In history, no simracer has driven in a rallying world championship, nor rallycross. Let’s hope for Joona Pankkonen that he’ll be the first. While waiting, “i’ll surely be at WRC Finland in July as a spectator.“, says the young man.
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