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.