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Red Bull GRC returned to the Port of Los Angeles this weekend for an awesome weekend of racing. They reintroduced the cross over jump which I used to pretty against, but man they did it right. Instead of it being a gap jump which creates a crash wall if a driver comes up short, it was a table top style jump creating a bridge over the track below. A short jump becomes a landing on the flat surface which is much safer. Even better was that the series nailed the distance and angles so the jump worked out really well and made for an awesome race.
The track was pretty cool because of the cross over jump and there’s something special about the locations GRC uses to host the races. This one was next to Long Beach on a concrete peninsula jutting into the harbor. The paddock was a bit far away for spectators and all the dirt was on the far side of the track from the main grandstands, but the layout made for a great race. The ship in the background was used for VIP spectators and while far away it looked like a pretty good party. I choose to watch from closer up where I could smell the race fuel.
The day was dominated by Volkswagen. Tanner Foust posted the fastest qualifying lap in Friday night’s time trials with Scott Speed in second. Qualifying is crazy import in Red Bull GRC as the track is tight and short meaning a good starting position makes it more likely to win the race. Much like the F1 race in Monaco. Start well and you have a good chance of finishing well as its difficult to pass on tight circuits.
The event was sponsored by STI(Subaru Tecnica International) which means Subaru effectively and they entered four cars in the race including rally ace David Higgins. I love David, he’s a really good guy, but I can’t help but cheer for Bucky Lasek. He’s been working really hard on his driving for year and he led the four-car Subaru Rally Team USA contingent with a first round qualifying lap time of 42.836 seconds.
Full Supercar qualifying results are as follows. Seventh place and below qualifying times were eliminated in the first round of knockout qualifying:
- Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle, 42.228
- Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle, 42.256
- Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI, 42.836
- Brian Deegan, #38 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST, 43.014
- Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST, 43.047
- Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST, 43.081
- Travis Pastrana, #199 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI, 43.300
- Brian Wong, #89 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster, 43.309
- Steve Arpin, #00 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST, 43.323
- Joni Wiman, #31 Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST, 43.439
- Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST, 43.522
- Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI, 43.757
- David Higgins, #75 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI, 44.012
- Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST, 44.058
- Austin Dyne, #14 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST, 44.397
While the two VW’s were on pole, nothing seemed to go write for the rest of the field. The Subaru Rally Team USA had a rough set of heats meaning three of the four cars were in the Last Chance Qualifier(LCQ) fighting to make the main event. Travis Pastrana won the LCQ and Bucky was fast enough to make the main as well. Unfortunately Bucky had car trouble after the LCQ and there wasn’t enough time to repair it before the main event.
Ken Block also had some bad luck and for the first time this season, he missed the main event of a Red Bull GRC championship round. Contact in his first round heat, semifinal, and last chance qualifier relegated him to a season-worst finish, opening up the points race heading into Sunday’s second event. He wasn’t the only one with bad luck. Sebastian Eriksson, who entered the weekend second in the standings, also missed Saturday’s main event.
The VW’s checked out at the start leaving the rest of the field to battle for the third place on the podium. Travis was the most exciting to watch his battled for spots but it was pretty far back in the field and now close to a podium. It was still pretty cool to watch him race in person. It’s really too bad that Bucky didn’t get a chance to play in the final. He was looking fast all weekend.
Scott Speed took his first points-paying win of the 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, and Tanner Foust gave Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross its first 1-2 finish, in Saturday’s Red Bull GRC Los Angeles. Patrik Sandell completed the podium in the main event, the first of two races this weekend.
“It’s a tough track—it’s super technical, and honestly, I think it’s one of my favorites so far,” Speed said after the victory. “Obviously, this race turned out exactly how we drew it up, and that doesn’t happen all the time, so we’ll take it!”
Unofficial results from Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles (I) presented by Subaru Tecnica International are as follows:
- Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
- Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
- Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
- Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
- Steve Arpin, #00 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
- Brian Deegan, #38 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
- Travis Pastrana, #199 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
- Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
- Joni Wiman, #31 Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
- Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
- Brian Wong, #89 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
- Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
- David Higgins, #75 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
- Austin Dyne, #14 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
Outstanding photographs by Larry Chen