Archives for August 2015
For two hot August days, Red Bull Global Rallycross set up a track at Washington D.C.’s RFK Stadium for some intense competition. In Volkswagen’s stomping grounds, it was once again sponsored by the German car company with two Beetles in the mix driven by Tanner Foust and Scott Speed. This year, the track was moved to the north side of the stadium, adopting part of the track left over from the ill-fated American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Cadillac Grand Prix in 2002. With the dirt jump added back in, the 1.577 km (.980 mile) track was designed with nine turns and the signature joker lap right after the jump. Gone were the issues with the jump experienced in Detroit, but the older asphalt of the RFK Stadium lot broke proved a little problematic with the GRC cars tearing around. Some new pot holes were kicked up early on in practice on Friday.
Much to the disappointment of the many fans sporting Subaru Rally Team gear, Bucky Lasek and Sverre Isachsen were conspicuously missing from the entry list. The field was rounded out, however, by the addition of Pat Moro in his Chevy Sonic; in Ford Fiestas were Logan Gomez from Indy Lights, and Jeff Ward with Chip Ganassi Racing (in place of Brian Deegan, running in select GRC races). With some of the usual suspects not competing, it was surprising – and to his credit – that Nelson Piquet Jr. showed up to play on the East Coast after just arriving on the West Coast for 2016 Formula e testing. Muito bom, Nelson, muito bom.
Patrik Sandell won in D.C. in 2014. After July’s double header in Detroit where Ken Block won Saturday and Patrik Sandell won the Sunday race, eyes were on the two Ford Fiesta drivers. But being VW territory, Scott Speed (with three P2 finishes in 2015) and Tanner Foust (one win in 2015) were going to be very very competitive. It’s rallycross, and anything can happen – heat 1A was won by Jeff Ward putting in a blistering pace.
GRC Lites saw a few new entrants in Blas Zapag with Rhys Millen Racing, and Joachim Hvaal with Olsbergs MSE in the mix. Alex Keyes won his second race over Oliver Eriksson (P2) with three 2015 podiums and Miles Maroney (P3), fresh off of two podium finishes in the Detroit double header. Maroney is now the new Lites points leader.
Back to Supercars: Sandell won Semi Final A and Piquet Jr. taking Semi Final B. The last chance qualifier had Scott Speed, Joni Wiman, Jeff Ward, Sebastian Eriksson, Logan Gomez and Pat Moro all fighting for the last spot in the final – and ultimately knocked Moro and Gomez out.
Winning the final in his first GRC first place finish was a jubilant Piquet Jr., who has placed P2 and P3 in previous races, and is the inaugural Formula e champion. Sandell and Block crossed the finish line in second and third after him, all three celebrating with donuts. Ken Block is now leading by 41 points and has placed on the podium in five out of 7 races so far this year, with three wins.
Next up on the GRC schedule is a double header in Los Angeles September 12 and 13th. Sponsored by Subaru Tecnica International, Dave Higgins will join his rallycross teammates for the two races, and Travis Pastrana will also return to compete in the City of Angels. No doubt the Ford Fiestas and the VW’s will bring it in the second half of the 2015 GRC season.
As the Red Bull Global Rallycross is heading to Washington D.C. – presented by Volkswagen – this weekend, there have been some exciting mid-season developments from the series.
It was announced earlier in the week that both Dave Higgins and Travis Pastrana will be competing in the September Los Angeles double-header alongside their Subaru teammates Bucky Lasek and Sverre Isachsen. Higgins is currently unstoppable on a rally winning streak, most recently taking the podium at the New England Forest Rally in Maine this past July. Pastrana is right on his tail, too, having taken P3 at the same really – this despite missing a stage with mechanical issues. It will be very competitive on the course in California with four Subies on the course – watch out, Ford.
While Dave Higgins has been tearing through forests in a Subaru, Rhys Millen won Pikes Peak this past June 2015 in an electric car. After Hyundai pulled sponsorship from Rhys Millen Racing after the 2014 GRC season, Millen decided not to compete in the series for 2015. But now he’s hinting strongly, in figurative all caps really, on social media that he just might bring the Hyundai out of retirement and rejoin the competition in LA. In fact, he’s begging people on Instagram to start a rumor that he will be racing in LA, so here you go, Rhys. Here’s a reminder of what his GRC Veloster sounds like:
Back to this weekend in D.C. – all eyes will be on Tanner Foust and Scott Speed in their manufacturer’s home territory. Foust just finished third at FIA World Rallycross in Trois Rivieres August 7. Speed took P2 in both finals of the GRC double-header in Detroit, so the Beetles will be primed to give some fierce competition to the dominating Ken Block – but don’t overlook Patrik Sandell who won the second day in Detroit, and also won last year in D.C.
If you’re in the US, keep your eyeballs on NBC Sports for the Supercar live broadcast Saturday August 15 at 3:00PM EST, and he Supercar Lites will be shown Wednesday August 19 at 4:30PM.
As one of three automakers supporting drivers in Red Bull Global Ralllycross, Volkswagen brought a special display of racing and off-road vehicles to the Detroit doubleheader July 25-26, 2015. Scott Speed and Tanner Foust both compete in VW Beetles with Andretti Autosport. While the record-setting Jetta Hybrid LSR and Jetta TDI Cup Car were both pretty cool, they didn’t catch the eye quite like the Desert Dingo Class 11 Beetle.
This isn’t the actual 1107 – according to the Desert Dingo blog, it’s currently being prepped for Vegas 2 Reno – but it’s 1115 wrapped with the same graphics and dubbed 1107B. No matter – the air-cooled 1.6L four-cylinder 1969 Beetle is beyond cool. With some changes to the engine and transmission, 1107b is equipped with desert racing tires and Bilstein suspension to handle tough off-road desert races such as the Mint 400 and Baja 1000.
If you’re going to GRC in Washington DC August 15, be sure to check it out as it will be there as well. In the meantime, here’s a full gallery.