Fournier bounced back from the disappointment at missing out on a Challenge 1 win by just 0.018 seconds to score victory on a tricky gravel stage with mixed conditions and varying grip levels. Just over a week later – this time on a dry gravel stage run in the spring sunshine – Dall’Olmo was Challenge 3 winner.
Both Frenchmen now progress to the FIA Rally Star European Continental Finals early next year.
Having missed out on the first Challenge, Fournier was in a determined mood when he set about #RallyAtHome Challenge 2: “Motor sport and cars have always been a big part of my life,” said Fournier, born in 2001.
“My father has a garage and since I was young, I was following him to races and rallies. I have been competing in karting myself and took up e-racing for fun a few years ago. The more I got into it, the more serious I became. I switched from the console to the PC and when I discovered FIA Rally Star earlier this year, I started to work harder on this game (WRC 9). I train for around three hours per day when I’m not at school… When I am at school, my parents want me to focus a little to the school work!
“As well as FIA Rally Star, I’m working towards the e-racing world championships in June, where the competition is going to be tough. My target is to follow Oliver Solberg’s model and become a rally driver. I watched how Oliver is using e-racing to help in his real rallying and I think that’s a cool way to go. I was also pleased for Killian to win #RallyAtHome Challenge 3 – we are good friends, but virtual friends. We are talking every day and training a lot together. It will be really good to meet him for the first time now we are in the Continental Final together.”
Seventeen-year-old Killian Dall’Olmo from Crolles near Grenoble (France), sealed his place in the FIA Rally Star Continental Final with a great drive to head off fellow French gamer Louis Lejeune and his brother Quentin Dall’Olmo at #RallyAtHome Challenge 3, which concluded this week.
Killian finished the stage 0.127 seconds ahead of Lejeune. He was, in turn, 4/100ths of a second quicker than the second member of the Dall’Olmo family.
Quentin is already back in action and chasing a place in the Continental Final at Challenge 4 which started on April 10 and finishes five days later.
For Killian, driving and motor sport are a vital part of his life. He said: “I have grown up with this sport. My father and my brother are both really interested. We have competed in Autocross and in Cross Karts as well as in e-racing. I ampleased that I have progressed over the years to become eSports Rallycross world champion in 2019 and vice-champion in 2020. I am also the e-racing team-mate for FIA Rally Star ambassador Klara Andersson.
“I have a funny story to tell: during the lockdown of last year, I had a message come from Charles Leclerc, asking if I could help him a little bit with some driving on some of the games. We were talking sometimes, he’s really cool. I love racing and the chance to compete in FIA Rally Star is something very important for me. I’m so happy to have this place, now I have to support my brother and I hope he can make it too.”
So keen is Killian to get behind the wheel that he has taken advantage of a system in France, where 17-year-olds can take their driving test and obtain their licence a year early. While they are still not permitted to drive on the road, when they turn 18, they can then use their licence immediately.
In terms of motor sport aspiration, Killian clearly likes multiple champions. He lists nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb and seven-time Formula 1 title winner Lewis Hamilton as his motor sport heroes.
“Those guys are just incredible drivers,” he said, “but the guy I admire right now is Kalle [Rovanperä]. He’s super-talented for somebody so young and such a fast driver – for me it’s good to have a driver like him so high in the sport at such a young age.”
FIA Rally Star project manager Jérôme Roussel said: “It’s incredible to imagine the rivalry which was going on in the Dall’Olmo house last week. It’s fantastic to welcome Killian to the Continental Final and now we look forward to the next challenges.
“As well as that, Motorsport Australia held its selection event at the Netier National Capital Rally in Canberra this weekend. Each driver was offered a 18-minute window to complete three runs at a stage on the simulator in the service park of the opening round of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australian Championship on Saturday.
“I'm glad to see FIA Rally Star really building now with more and more selection events coming and more and more young drivers coming through to the finals.”
#RallyAtHome is the online challenge element of the FIA’s Rally Star. Organised by the FIA in partnership with WRC 9, there’s a new #RallyAtHome starting every two weeks. While the competitors will always drive an M-Sport-built Rally Star-liveried Fiesta Rally3 on Pirelli tyres, the stage and the weather conditions they will drive in will be decided by the FIA and WRC 9 and kept secret until the challenge opens.
Open to all 17 to 26-year-olds, #RallyAtHome Challenge requires competitors to create a free account on fiarallystar.com and then purchase FIA Rally Star WRC 9 DLC for €9.99. The choice of how to play the game at home (computer or console) is up to the individual gamer.
FIA Rally Star is providing a series of tutorials to help less experienced sim racers, with Swedish driver – and Dall’Olmo’s team-mate – Andersson offering guidance for the challenges.