Trogen wins Esports World Championship title
Sami-Matti Trogen claimed one of the biggest prizes in Esports by winning the iRacing Rallycross World Championship and receiving prize of $10,000 on Saturday evening with the SET Esports team.
Racing in a dual season with the Turku-based SET Promotion team, in which he has contested the ‘real world’ RX2 International Series that supports the FIA World Rallycross Championship, Trogen has also been part of a three-strong SET Esports squad for the iRacing rallycross campaign, with nine rounds run over nine weeks.
At each event, Trogen has joined team mates Joni Heikkinen and Tommi Hallman in the simulator to take on some of the best virtual racers on the planet, competing from all over the world. Trogen entered the iRacing season – driving a Subaru WRX STI – as a guest wildcard entry. Heikkinen started thanks to finishing as runner up in the previous season, and Hallman qualified through a series of tough pre-season qualifying races.
But, it was Trogen that scored a stunning victory in the opening round of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, from which point he led the standings. With a strong second place finish in the penultimate round at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, the 17-year old needed just three points from the final round at Atlanta to be confirmed as champion. By scoring those points during qualifying, Trogen claimed the 2019 title, before finishing the last race of the season on the podium in second.
Together Trogen, Heikkinen and Hallman amassed nine podium finishes from nine starts, including two victories.
Run by multiple European Rallycross Champion Jussi Pinomäki, SET Promotion has provided a unique platform for its drivers to race in both real and virtual world rallycross in 2019. Along with operating cars in the European and World Rallycross Championships, SET Promotion runs the RX Academy concept in Northern Europe.
As his prize for winning the RX Academy programme in 2018, Trogen raced to podium finishes in RX2 this year. That included racing in both real rallycross and the simulator on the same day in South Africa recently, to keep his iRacing title hopes on track.
Sami-Matti Trogen (FIN) #22, iRacing Rallycross World Champion:
"This is amazing. It’s been a hard year few weeks racing in both real and virtual world rallycross but we have been successful in both and it’s amazing to win the iRacing Rallycross World Championship. I knew I could be fast coming into the season, but there are some big names in the series, so I always knew it would be tough. Some of the other drivers also get to do a lot of testing, but with racing in real world rallycross and some circuit racing, and also being at school, I haven’t had so much time, which makes this result even better. Together the three of us have worked hard on the setup of the Subaru WRX STI we have been racing this year and we have all improved a lot by having each other to work with in the team."
Jussi Pinomäki, SET Esports Team Principal:
"It’s been a good year for us with a lot of different programmes and I’m delighted that in the first season of SET Promotion moving into Esports we have shown strong and consistent performances and Sami-Matti has won the championship. It’s been very interesting for all of us to watch how our three drivers have got on in ‘real world’ rallycross and in Esports, which is something truly unique we are able to offer within SET Promotion. This is just the start though, we will continue to run out regular rallycross programmes into the future, and use this first year in Esports to learn on what we can improve, to do things much more professionally and be much more competitive moving forward. Well done to all of our drivers for their performances in iRX this year."
Final standings 2019:
1) Sami-Matti Trogen (FIN) 639p
2) Mitchell De Jong (USA) 561p
3) Joni Heikkinen (FIN) 515p
4) Bobby Zalenski (USA) 489p
5) Otto Taskinen (FIN) 471p
Watch the full race of the final round on YouTube here >>
Picture: SET Esport