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08 Jun 2014

GRC: Speed to X Games win

Category: GRC, News Posted 08.06.14 23:30 by

After making GRC Round 1 at the isle of Barbados his that former Formula One driver Scott Speed has now also won the RallyCross feature of the Austin X Games in Texas.

 

It was already for the second time this season that American Scott Speed, driving for Volkswagen of America and Andretti Racing, has claimed victory in the Global RallyCross series. After winning the championship opener at the Carribean island of Barbados [on May 18] on Saturday the ex-F1 driver made the RallyCross event of the 23rd Summer X Games in Austin, Texas, his. Thereby, Speed bagged his second X Games gold medal, after the Brazilian X Games at Foz do Iguaçu in April 2013, beating his compatriot ‘Bucky’ Lasek and Nelson Piquet Jr. from Brazil to the places two and three.

 

Subaru driver 'Bucky' Lasek congratulates Volkswagen's Scott Speed to his Austin X Games victory. © Red Bull/ERC24

Subaru driver ‘Bucky’ Lasek congratulates Volkswagen’s Scott Speed to his Austin X Games victory. © Red Bull/ERC24

 

'Big Air' time in Austin, Texas... © Red Bull/ERC24

‘Big Air’ time in Austin, Texas… © Red Bull/ERC24

 

The Austin X Games podium with (from left) third Nelson Piquet Jr., winner Scott Speed and runner-up 'Bucky' Lasek. © Red Bull/ERC24

The Austin X Games podium with (from left) third Nelson Piquet Jr., winner Scott Speed and runner-up ‘Bucky’ Lasek. © Red Bull/ERC24

 

X Games Austin featured a unique race format for the GRC series, with two rounds of points-paying Heats yielding to four five-car Quarter-Finals and two six-car Semi-Finals. Six different drivers were able to win Heats leading up to the Quarter-Finals, which were taken by Austin Dyne, Ken Block, Scott Speed and Patrik Sandell respectively. The first Semi-Final saw Liam Doran, Austin Dyne and Nelson Piquet Jr. advance, while the second allowed Scott Speed, Patrik Sandell and ‘Bucky’ Lasek to transfer.

With only six cars racing in the Final a clean start was easy for the field, which managed to complete two laps before a red flag was shown because of Austin Dyne’s disabled vehicle. Per series rules, because Patrik Sandell was judged to be the initiator of the red flag situation, he was removed from the field for the re-start, which now saw only four cars left.

Scott Speed jumped to an early lead, while Nelson Piquet Jr. fought to maintain a podium place despite only having third and fourth gear in his vehicle. A stop-and-go penalty to Piquet for taking the [here shorter] Joker Lap twice allowed ‘Bucky’ Lasek to jump out to second position, but when Liam Doran spun himself with not much of the distance to go before the finish line, Piquet was able to steal a podium place.

 

American action sports superstar Travis Pastrana was back for Subaru to RallyCross business. © Red Bull/ERC24

American action sports superstar Travis Pastrana was back for Subaru to RallyCross business. © Red Bull/ERC24

 

The X Games course inside the Stadium of The Americas was tight and produced a lot of action. © OMSE/ERC24

The X Games course inside the Circuit of The Americas was tight and produced a lot of action. © OMSE/ERC24

 

NASCAR racer Ricky Johnson competed in his first ever RallyCross event. © OMSE/ERC24

Off-Road racer Ricky Johnson competed in his first ever RallyCross event. © OMSE/ERC24

 

“Plan A worked to perfection!” an overjoyed Speed exclaimed after the race. “We had a really bad qualifying draw, and I think our best performance of the week was qualifying second. That set the tone – that let us know that we had the pace again. Then it was just on to me not making mistakes, and we were able to do that in every single Heat race.”

“It was intense – that was the hardest fought medal that I’ve ever had to work for,” said Lasek. “It brings me to tears, I’m just holding them back. My team gets more credit than I do, they work so freaking hard to do the best they can, and we finally have great equipment. We’re making it happen race to race.”

Piquet Jr.: “It was a hard weekend – I struggled a bit with the track. I guess Barbados was much easier for me for some reason. For sure I learned a lot from this weekend. The track had a lot of dust and damaged a lot of cars – you had to think a lot, and you had to be careful. A lot of drivers were here just for this race, not for the championship, so those guys were going nuts. In the end it worked out, the guys did a great job fixing the car after every Heat, and we made it to the Final. We limped to the end, and right at the last moment we managed to get the medal.”

Threefold European Rallycross Champion Sverre Isachsen was very upset about ‘Nelsinho’, after he felt torpedoed out of X Games by the Brazilian: “Nelson Piquet should better start with Formula One again, for he has nothing to do in Rallycross. He had nudged me already several times, and then he hit me once again. Of course it is the driver, who is responsible for his behaviour, but all drivers have a spotter and for Piquet it was Andreas Bakkerud. I really wonder what Bakkerud thinks about this race. I’m all but impressed, let’s point it out this way. Anyone who watched the race on TV saw that I had the better start, and I was completely innocent when I got hit by Piquet. I am extremely disappointed and feel sorry for my team and especially for all my fans back home in Norway, who watched it all live on TV. But I will fight back, I’ll promise.”

 

The 16 years old American talent Mitchell DeJong claimed the X Games gold medal of the GRC Lites category. © OMSE/ERC24

The 16 years old American talent Mitchell DeJong claimed the X Games gold medal of the GRC Lites category. © OMSE/ERC24

 

GRC Lites only ran one round of three Heats before going to two five-car Semi-Finals in Austin, with Mitchell DeJong, Kevin Eriksson and Átila Abreu taking the three Heat victories and DeJong and Eriksson earning the two Semi-Final wins. Nelson Piquet Jr. [at Austin racing in both categories] and Austin Cindric followed DeJong into the main event from the first Semi-Final, while Abreu and Geoff Sykes also transferred from the second Semi-Final.

The six-car Final received a red flag after early contact, which damaged Abreu’s vehicle beyond the ability to continue and led to Piquet’s removal from the re-start. DeJong shot into an early lead over Eriksson, while Cindric held off Sykes for third early on; when Sykes pulled off with a broken axle, the three medallists were decided.

 

Mitchell DeJong is the "man" to beat in the GRC Lites class. © OMSE/ERC24

Mitchell DeJong is the “man” to beat in the GRC Lites class. © OMSE/ERC24

 

Mitchell DeJong after the event: “It was a ton of fun. It was very difficult with the slick dirt and just trying to keep the car on track. Then you had to think about all the other guys in there too who are just trying to get that little edge. It was very tough – I had Kevin right behind me, and he was very, very fast. I couldn’t make any mistakes, and it was easy to with the track going away a little bit. I had to deal with a little bit of the car overheating, and it started going into limp mode about halfway through. So I was trying to get all the lap time out of it even though the power wasn’t there. I loved every minute of the race, and I’m more than excited.”

 

Proud father Andréas Eriksson showing the silver medal his offspring Kevin won in GRC Lites. © OMSE/ERC24

Proud father Andréas Eriksson showing the silver medal his offspring Kevin won in GRC Lites. © OMSE/ERC24

 

  • Round 2, Global RallyCross, Circuit of The Americas (CoTA), Austin, Texas, USA, 07.06.2014
  • FINAL RESULTS SUPERCARS:
  • 1. Scott Speed (USA) VW Polo Mk5
  • 2. ‘Bucky’ Lasek (USA) Subaru Impreza GR
  • 3. Nelson Piquet Jr. (BR) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 4. Liam Doran (GB) Citroën DS3
  • 5. Austin Dyne (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 6. Patrik Sandell (S) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 7. Travis Pastrana (USA) Subaru Impreza GR
  • 8. Brian Deegan (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 9. Ricky Johnson (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 10. Steve Arpin (CDN) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 11. Ken Block (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 12. Emma Gilmour ♀ (NZ) Hyundai Veloster
  • 13. Rhys Millen (NZ) Hyundai Veloster
  • 14. Anton Marklund (S) VW Polo Mk5
  • 15. Sverre Isachsen (N) Subaru Impreza GR
  • 16. Toomas Heikkinen (FIN) VW Polo Mk5
  • 17. Joni Wiman (FIN) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 18. Tanner Foust (USA) VW Polo Mk5
  • 19. Pat Moro (USA) Chevrolet Sonic/Aveo
  • FINAL RESULTS GRC LITES:
  • 1. Mitchell DeJong (USA) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”
  • 2. Kevin Eriksson (S) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”
  • 3. Austin Cindric (USA) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”
  • 4. Geoff Sykes (USA) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”
  • 5. Átila Abreu (BR) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”
  • 6. Nelson Piquet Jr. (BR) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”
  • 7. Alejandro Fernández (CO) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”
  • 8. Colton Herta (USA) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”
  • 9. Tyler Benson (USA) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”
  • 10. Mark McKenzie (USA) “Ford Fiesta Mk7”

 

Top photo: Volkswagen/Andretti driver Scott Speed en route to his second X Games gold medal. © Red Bull/ERC24