In DCL’s closest-ever title fight, Great Britain wins Race 1 of the Season Finale to pull even with Japan – just 24 hours before the season ends.

DCL’s 2021 climax in China is proving to be as great as the Great Wall itself, with the phenomenal Raiden Racing of Japan – who only two years ago finished dead last – locked in an epic battle to dethrone six-time champions XBlades Racing of the UK.

Leading the overall standings by only 50 points as Race 1 of the double-header began on Saturday, Raiden proceeded to give their fans a scare. After the Round Robin phase, XBlades had strongly powered through to a place in the Grand Final, while the Japanese team was tied with the USA’s Quad Force One for the opposing berth. A count-back to practice rounds advanced Raiden by a single point.

In that Grand Final, Raiden dug deep, and after what should have been the concluding Big Heat – a test of skill and stamina with eight pilots flying simultaneously – the score was tied. That meant a second exhausting Big Heat would determine the outcome, something that had never occurred since DCL’s beginnings in 2016. In a back-and-forth thriller, XBlades finally won the day, taking the Grand Final by a 21-19 score.

Now, the two rivals are deadlocked in a tie at the top of the leaderboard with 1,100 points each. The World Championship of professional drone racing teams will all come down to Race 2 on Sunday.

XBlades pilot Ashton Gamble said: “Tomorrow, history is going to be made, and hopefully we will be the ones to make it. May the best team win!

Drone Sports Global earned a Final rounds appearance for the first time in 2021, but the celebration was short lived as they faced the Quad Force One in the Small Final. There, the Americans battered their Russian opponents, winning 18-12 to seize third place for the race and confirm that they will stand in third on Sunday’s overall podium as well.

When it came time for the DCL Women’s Cup, winner Evan Desautels of Raiden Racing solidified the overall lead she’s been holding all season by dominating on both tracks. But not without a significant challenge from second-place Luisa Rizzo of XBlades. Ksenia Mosina of Drone Sports took third.

“What a battle! To race against Luisa is such an honour,” said Desautels. With the possibility that she and her team could sweep both the Women’s Cup and the World Championship wins on Sunday, she added, “Excitement is high. I believe in Raiden, and I think we could pull through all the way to the end.”

The Grand Finale marks the third time DCL has raced at the World Heritage site of the Simatai section of the Great Wall, but the four tracks for this weekend’s event are entirely new. The two tracks introduced in Race 1 were among the longest the DCL has ever created: Chilong, the track of the red dragon, is intensely technical, while Qinglong dazzles with the spectacular azure dragon, an unprecedented tunnel of 43 rings.

As usual in this virtual season, a voter poll on Twitch chooses the tracks for each day’s Finals. With 73% of the vote, Qinglong was the choice for Saturday’s Grand Final, with the Small Final on Chilong.

Two pilots who emerged unbeaten in their heats across the day – XBlades’ MinChan Kim in the World Championship and Evan Desautels in the Women’s Cup – each swept their respective track records.


DCL marks a new chapter this weekend, offering betting for the first time in its history. Betting for Sunday’s all-important heats is available at the Drone Champions League hub on Pinnacle.com.

The new Chinese tracks will be added to play in DCL – The Game, so everyone can test their times, whether for fun or to build their skills for the 2022 DCL Draft Selection. Stay tuned to DCL social channels for updates, and find track information on DCL – The Game: aero/game/features/

Every point, every heat will matter on Sunday! Find out who takes the World Championship,  live globally on Twitch, starting at 10:00 am UTC on November 28.

Full race results and overall standings after Day 1, Virtual Drone Grand Prix Great Wall of China

World Championship: https://dcl.aero/races/standings/

Women’s Cup: https://dcl.aero/races/standings/#standings-womens

Keep up with DCL 2.0: Follow @dronechampionsleague on social and stay on top of the news here on www.dcl.aero.

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