The second edition of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) online DiRT Rally 2.0 club has been completed with Simon Black winning the thrilling virtual competition.
Locked in an entertaining battle with series one winner Luca Giacomin throughout the whole six rounds, Black eventually finished on top of the standings by just three points over Giacomin.
Remarkably, barely anything separated the duo throughout the events with each driver securing three victories, two runners-up and a fourth place apiece – albeit it was their fourth place finishes which would eventually be the determining factor for the final result.
Giacomin got the upper-hand early on with the first victory of the campaign – a comfortable 47 second buffer over Black at Powys thanks to his three stage wins in the Welsh based event.
The second round at the Catamarca Province saw Black win his first event and Giacomin finish fourth. With the Argentine round having the biggest field entered of the six rounds, Black’s points reward was the most of any round, which ultimately proved to be the deciding factor at the end of the series.
Black backed up his winning performance in Argentina with another two round victories, however this time they were significantly closer as Giacomin endured heartbreak in both events.
In the series’ third round at Łęczna in Poland, only three seconds separated Black and Giacomin at the end of the five stages – four of which Giacomin won. Despite Black only winning the second stage, an error from Giacomin saw him finish more than 50 seconds behind his rival, falling just short at the end of the round even after winning the three remaining stages.
It was a similar story at the Australian Monaro Stages round as Giacomin had control of the event for the first four stages, only to have another error on the final stage prove costly for the reigning series winner and post a time 48 seconds slower than Black, who won just his second stage in two rounds.
In the remaining two outings at New England in the United States and Spain’s Ribadelles, Giacomin made up for his two disappointing rounds and claimed two comfortable victories.
In New England, more than 40 seconds split Giacomin and the runner-up Black, while the latter’s fourth place in the final round was enough to secure the outright victory.
A third instalment of the ARC’s online DiRT Rally 2.0 club will be announced in the coming weeks.