It's set up to be a three-way fight for the Drivers' Championship in the Formula E: Accelerate Grand Final, with Erhan Jajovski's closest challenger, Frede Rasmussen, more than pleased to be in with an unexpected shot of top spot.
Frederik Rasmussen (DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT) is right on the tail of standings leader Erhan Jajovski (ROKiT Venturi Racing) with the double-points Grand Final in Rome set to decide the destination of Formula E: Accelerate's cash prize and real-world Gen2 test drive.
The Dane has been there or thereabouts throughout the six-race series and close the gap with a win in Round 4 at Diriyah before Jajovski jabbed back with victory last time out at the Electric Docks - with Rasmussen pipped to second on the final lap by Nikodem Wisniewski (DS TECHEETAH).
Rasmussen likes Rome, and he's looking to do his own thing and right last week's wrongs which saw him confused at a lack of usable energy as the race wore on - a problem he'd not come across before in the championship.
"Rome is definitely a nice track to drive," said the DRAGON racer. "I’ve done a few days testing now but I think the pace is looking alright so far. It’s really, really bumpy. You have to take some different lines in places to avoid the bumps in the braking zones and it’s a completely different challenge to the Electric Docks. I’ve no idea what happened last week.
"It was definitely very, very weird – it had never happened before, so I hope it’s going to be fine this week. Let's see what it’s going to be like on energy in Rome, but I think it’s going to be a lot easier and a lot better."
"I’ll just be doing my own thing and my best. That’s all I try to do every time I race. That’s been enough to have a nice result so far. I haven’t looked into the points situation – I will focus on what I can do. All the pressure is on Erhan (Jajovski) and I’m not feeling any at all. I’m just going to go in there and see what happens!"
Rasmussen's new to rFactor 2, whilst the man leading the charge just 26 points ahead of the Dane in the Drivers' Championship, Jajovski, is known in the community as the GOAT of Studio 397's sim. The 20-year-old didn't expect to be up there initially, and feels he can have no complaints whatever the outcome on Thursday.
"It would be nice to win the prize, of course – but I’d be really pleased with a top three finish in my first rFactor 2 event," said the G2 Esports driver. "It’s not really in my mind, I’m just trying to do my best. It’s been a big challenge adapting for sure, and I’m still learning all the time about the sim but I’m enjoying it – it’s a really nice challenge.
"You have to slide the car a lot to be fast, which is really tricky to learn. You also feel a lot more connected to the track in this game, which affects things a lot. There’s also the energy and getting your head around that.
"When there’s more on the line, a bigger prize, you’re going to have better drivers coming in and the competition is going to be a lot tougher. It’s up there with the toughest grids around, for sure.
"At first, I was hoping just to qualify for the series and then I thought maybe top 10 would be quite nice – so where I am now is a surprise and a nice bonus. It would be cool to race in real life but I’m not thinking about it – I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and I’m happy with it – it would be a great bonus!"
With a real-world drive in a Gen2 Formula E car on offer, as well as the 20,000 euro top prize, Rasmussen's buoyed by how far motor racing esports has come in such a short space of time.
"It’s really amazing to see where esports has come from and where it is going," he said. "It’s amazing someone can make it into a real car and I never thought it would be possible a few years ago and it’s really cool that it now is.
"I don’t think motor racing esports should only focus on getting racers into real cars – it’s big enough to be a sport in its own right. I hope it keeps growing and growing."
Published on 25th March 2021