On the weekend of June 21-22, the third of ten 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross events took place in Washington D.C. The half-mile course was set up outside of RFK Stadium for a cloudy day of racing. This isn’t your usual oval racing – the course featured ten turns, a stretch of gravel to kick up some dirt, a table jump where cars hurl though the air, and a strategic joker lap which can only be taken once – and can help a driver get in front to quickly change the fate of the race. To kick off GRC in DC earlier in the week, Rhys Millen sped around the United States capitol in his Red Bull Hyundai Veloster , and on race day Red Bull skydivers jumped down onto the course before the final.
Sponsored by Volkswagen, this is the first year that VW is participating in GRC, having spirited Tanner Foust away from Ford as well as signing on Scott Speed. Teamed with Andretti Motorsport, the duo revealed two GRC Beetles that they will drive in the races beginning with Los Angeles this coming September. It was also the first VW Red Bull GRC sponsored race in the capitol city, close to American VW headquarters in Herndon, Virginia.
After winning in Barbados and Austin, Scott Speed wrestled with engine issues on Saturday in his current car, a Volkswagen Polo R, on Saturday. Sunday he was back on the track, taking second place in Heat A after Joni Wiman jumped the gun and had to spend a few seconds in the penalty box.
Heat B saw Tanner Foust battling with Subaru’s Sverre Isachsen, but ended up having to take his changes again in the Last Chance Qualifier. Steve Arpin won this heat in a Ford Fiesta.
Austin Dyne, Rhys Millen, his teammate Emma Gilmour, and Bucky Lasek all joined Tanner Foust in the LCQ. Ken Block would have been along for this ride as well, but he was automatically transferred into the final when Wiman jumped the start in Heat A. After experiencing problems including her door opening in the qualifier, Emma Gilmour was the odd one out, not making it to the final.
Sverre Isachsen jumped the gun at the start of the supercars final, but as he remained behind the line, suffered no penalty. Joni Wiman raced the fastest heat of the day, but was ultimately no match for the Nelson Piquet Jr. and Patrik Sandell, placing third. Piquet Jr., now racing in a Ford Fiesta ST after driving a Mitsubishi in 2013, put the pressure on Sandell but could not get past the determined Swede. Sandell celebrated his win with some spectacular post-race donuts on the track. After the race, however, Piquet Jr. stressed how good a race it was, he was happy for his teammate, and was pleased with the level of sportsmanship displayed all around in this GRC final.
The Brazilian also competed in the GRC Lites, coming in third behind 17-year-old Mitchell DeJong and 18-year-old Kevin Erikkson.
Red Bull next travels to Long Island in New York in July, and on to five more cities in August and September before the November final in Las Vegas.