CHAMPIONSHIP UP FOR GRABS AS RAIDEN WIN AND XBLADES STUMBLE


In an impressive display, Raiden Racing won the second race of the Laax double-header to seize the top of the overall leaderboard, while Quad Force One stepped up to second on the Swiss podium. The five-time World Champion XBlades Racing finished an unfamiliar third.

Thirty-five pilots from 17 countries flew in the fourth race of DCL’s 2021 virtual season, and the Halloween showdown was a treat for the ages.

Surprises started early on Sunday as Raiden Racing, who had finished second to XBlades in Saturday’s race, took their revenge, smashing the British team 13 to 7 in Round Robin flying. When XBlades couldn’t make up enough points in their other head-to-heads to secure a spot in the Grand Final, it was the first time they’d missed such an opportunity since a real-life Laax race in 2019.

Instead, Raiden’s challengers in the Grand Final were Quad Force One of the USA, who are back in form after two underperforming seasons. It all came down to the Big Heat, a grueling four laps with eight pilots on the track. Under intense pressure, Vincent Mayans saved the day for Raiden, holding off a fierce charge from the Americans – particularly Levi Johnson – when his teammates fell behind. Final match score: 16:14 Raiden.

Vicent, who scored more points than any other pilot on Sunday (29), said, “The tracks today were amazing, I really love them,” while teammate David Modig added, “We’re super happy where we are, and we hope to keep it up and take home the season win for Raiden.”

For the second day in a row, China Dragons earned a spot in the Small Final, but while on Saturday they executed a rare sweep of the top four Big Heat positions for third place, on Sunday the XBlades gave them a taste of their own medicine. Knowing that they needed every point possible to stay close to Raiden in the standings, the British team delivered their own Big Heat sweep for their third-place result.

XBlades’ captain MinChan Kim admitted that the team hadn’t practiced together as much as usual, but he vowed that they would work extra hard toward the season finale. Teammate Ashton Gamble agreed, declaring, “The next race is going to be a whole lot different.”

It will need to be different if XBlades want to secure a record sixth consecutive DCL World Championship, because with only two races left, the leaderboard stands at 900 points for Raiden, 850 points for XBlades, and 600 points for Quad Force One.

In other words, it’s far too close to call.

The rivalry between Japan and Great Britain also played out in the Women’s Cup race, as Raiden’s seemingly invincible Evan Desautels was knocked off the top step of the podium for the first time in a stunning upset by Luisa Rizzo of XBlades. Leslie Camarena of Spain’s SDT Euroflytech claimed third place.

“I don’t have the words to describe this feeling,” said Luisa, whose effort has brought XBlades within 100 points of Raiden in the Women’s Cup. “For me it was going to be all or nothing, so I just tried everything I could. I knew it was going to be hard against Evan, but I just tried to give my best and then push a little more.”

Two new tracks were unveiled on Sunday, both featuring the massive Laax half-pipe. In Frostbite, pilots had to thread a tunnel of arches and a master a tricky drop-gate element, while the nighttime Ice Party track challenged the pilots with a corkscrew ascent and descent, as well as consecutive light tunnels. When it was time for the viewers to choose tracks for the Finals by voting on Twitch, they selected Frostbite for the Grand Final and Ice Party for the Small Final.

When it came to track records, the best times on Ice Party were set by Levi Johnson across the two-lap heats and by MinChan Kim in the four-lap Big Heats. On Frostbite, MinChan was fastest over two laps, while Vicent Mayans was quickest in the Big Heats.

All four new tracks from the double-header in Laax will be added to play in DCL – The Game in the weeks to come. Be sure to check DCL social channels for updates. For more information on DCL – The Game: aero/game/features/

Giveaways of Torvol x DCL backpacks and DCL – The Game for Steam were again part of the excitement, with fans entering keywords in the Twitch chat for a chance to win.

Tune in to a race recap and preview of the season finale when the next episode of DCL’s talk show series “What the Kwad?!” streams live on Twitch in mid-November.

Next: Unmissable battles as the championships are decided at the Great Wall of China. The season finale will serve up another double-header at a legendary DCL destination: the Great Wall of China. Four new tracks, two days of racing, and just one World Champion when it’s all over. Plus the finale of the first-ever DCL Women’s Cup! Catch the action, live globally on Twitch, on Saturday and Sunday, 27-28 November 2021.

Full race results and overall standings after Day 2, Virtual Drone Grand Prix Laax, Switzerland

World Championship: https://dcl.aero/race/virtual-drone-grand-prix-laax-switzerland-2/

Women’s Cup: https://dcl.aero/race/virtual-drone-grand-prix-laax-switzerland-cup-2/

Keep up with DCL 2.0: Follow @dronechampionsleague on social and get all the fresh news here on www.dcl.aero.

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