Fourth rallycross driver championship in a row for Speed
Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross’ Scott Speed claimed the inaugural Americas Rallycross (ARX) title at the inaugural World Rallycross USA held at Circuit of The Americas. Teammate Tanner Foust did all he could in the last round by taking the victory and maximum points in Texas.
Foust won Semifinal 1, having taken a point out of Speed’s Championship lead at the Intermediate Classification, but by winning Semifinal 2, Speed was assured of the title as long as he just started the final to claim the one point required to be the champion. He did indeed take the start, on the front row alongside pole man Foust and went straight for the joker as Foust took the hole-shot into turn one ahead of Loenbro Hoonigan’s Steve Arpin. In the No. 43 Loenbro Hoonigan Ford Focus RS RX, Ken Block immediately pulled off the grid with a technical issue as the lights went green.
Subaru Rally Team USA’s Toomas Heikkinen and Patrik Sandell followed Speed into the turn one joker, Sandell making a last-moment change of decision to take the non-standard line. Arpin took his joker on the third lap and was passed by Speed, but held onto third. Foust then took his joker on lap 4 but held onto the lead to take his second win of the inaugural ARX season. Speed finished second and Arpin claimed his first ARX podium in third.
Heikkinen finished fourth in his debut for Subaru Rally Team USA and Sandell finished fifth in the last round and third in the championship point standings. Subaru’s Chris Atkinson and Xite Racing’s Oliver Bennett had a first-lap-fight in Semifinal 1 and GC Kompetition’s Liam Doran had a battle with Sandell in Semifinal 2 but finished the race with a puncture.
Scott Speed and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross (VARX) become the first team and driver champions in ARX. This is the fourth driver championship in rallycross, in a row, for Speed and the team’s fourth collectively.In ARX2, DirtFish Motorsports driver Conner Martell won the second semifinal to lock down the ARX2 championship. In the final, he took the hole-shot from the pole position into turn one while Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Christian Brooks was forced out wide, allowing DirtFish’s Fraser McConnell and Keatts Motorsport’s Cole Keatts to move up. McConnell climbed into the lead when Martell was forced out on lap two by a puncture, but it was Buhl Sport Detroit’s Alex Keyes, who had taken the joker on the first lap, who moved forward to sweep the weekend at COTA with a pair of victories. Jamaica’s Fraser McConnell finished second and 18-year-old Brooks finished third. Martell and DirtFish Motorsports secured their first championship in rally or rallycross. The official rally school of ARX secured the team championship with consistent performances from its drivers, Scott Anderson, Fraser McConnell and Scott Anderson.
After winning the ARX round at COTA last month, Speed notches another victory in Trois Rivieres.
he Americas Rallycross (ARX) series inaugural season is shaping up nicely. The first season is rather short at only four rounds, and on Sunday, the third event of the championship calendar brought the competitors to Trois Rivieres, Canada this weekend for GP3R.
GP3R can trace its roots back to 1967 when members of Club Autosport Mauricien organized a race on the streets of Trois-Rivieres in Quebec. Since 2014, the race weekend has featured the FIA World Rallycross Championship and now, in 2018, it also hosts the fresh ARX series.
Driver of the No. 41 Oberto-sponsored Volkswagen, Scott Speed took the top spot at Round 2 of ARX at Circuit of the Americas and he followed up by grabbing first place in Canada. His Andretti Autosport teammate Tanner Foust took second place, while Head Hoonigan Ken Block nabbed the final spot on the podium with a P3 finish.
After Round 3, Speed has solidified his championship lead over his teammate with 86 points to Foust’s 77. Subaru Rally Team USA driver Patrik Sandell is sitting in third place with 58 points. Block, while grabbing second place at COTA and third in Canada, is sitting in fourth place overall with 49 points mostly due to only racing select events this year as he sat out the first round at Silverstone. Chris Atkinson rounds out the top-five with 49 points, the same as Block.
The next and final event of the 2018 Americas Rallycross Championship inaugural season will bring the drivers back to Circuit of the Americas on September 29-30.
After the Global Rallycross Championship series folded earlier in the year, U.S. fans were uncertain on how they were going to get their rallycross fix. Luckily, the Americas Rallycross (ARX) Championship was formed to fill that void with many former GRC crews like Subaru Rally Team USA and Andretti Volkswagen Rallycross Team bolstering the field.
This weekend was the first event of the series actually held on American soil, the season-opener being hosted in Britain—more specifically, the historic Silverstone Circuit. Andretti Volkswagen driver Tanner Foust took the first round in his Volkswagen Beetle rally car, followed by his teammate Scott Speed, and Liam Doran took the last spot on the podium in his Citroen DS3 machine.
This time, it was Speed who took the top spot at Circuit of the Americas. His back-and-forth battle with Ken Block provided the entertainment and proved to be the closest fight of the night as he was nearly unbeatable around the recently-built infield track. The drama continued into the final where Block was ultimately defeated, having the door shut on him by Speed, himself a three-time GRC champion.
When being interviewed during one of the semi-final heats, Speed mentioned Block by saying, “that guy is always running into someone.” In the post-race interview, a reporter referred to the final round as easy for Speed to which he responded: “That was not easy, I had to brake 50 meters before the first two corners because I was getting plowed in the back by the 43.” He was, of course, referring to Block’s No. 43 Hoonigan Ford.
Former Subaru rallycross driver and skateboard legend Bucky Lasek, who was commentating, responded with “Scott, tell us how you really feel.”
Block got his word in, though. Being arguably the king of burnouts and donuts, during his post-race interview, Block responded to the applause for his celebratory spins in the infield by saying, “Scott was doing some pathetic donuts, so I had to show the fans what it is really all about.” A hysterically laughing Lasek then commented “Hey, Ken! you should tell us how you really feel,” after saying the same thing about Speed.
Speed’s Andretti Autosport teammate Tanner Foust grabbed the third and final spot on the podium at day’s end.
Now that the drama has settled, there is a new leader in the Americas Rallycross Championship standings. Speed leads Foust by 1 point, 56 to 55 respectively. Subaru driver Patrik Sandell is in third place, but 16 points behind Foust. He is followed by fellow Subaru driver Chris Atkinson with 29 points and COTA second-place finisher Block who now has 24 points after not participating in the first round at Silverstone.
The next event on the Americas Rallycross Championship calendar brings the drivers to Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada on August 4-5.
Andretti Autosport team dominated now-defunct Red Bull Global Rallycross
Last year’s Red Bull Global Rallycross champion Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team with its Beetle Supecars and drivers Scott Speed and Tanner Foust are moving to Americas Rallycross.
The season begins May 25-27 in Silverstone, England, at the new Silverstone Rallycross circuit during the Speedmachine Festival. The Americas Rallycross opener will be held in conjunction with the British round of the 2018 World Rallycross Championship (WRX).
Red Bull Global Rallycross ceased operations in April.
“I’m excited to compete with ARX,” said Scott Speed, driver of the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle. “The competition is going to be tough, but our Beetles are ready. I think this new series will be a great place to push our team and the cars in 2018.”
Tanner Foust is ready to return to the world stage at Silverstone, having won races in the 2011 and 2012 European Rallycross Championship, the first American to do so. “Having World Rallycross expand its reach to the U.S. is going to make the competition so much more accessible for fans to better understand the sport,” said the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle driver. “ARX will be a great platform to find new fans and spread the word about rallycross.”R
Speed won the last three Red Bull Global Rallycross championships (2016-2018), while Foust won the top drivers’ title in the GRC series with Olsbergs MSE Ford in Ford Fiestas in 2011 and 2012.
The pair will continue to race in the Beetle Rallycross vehicles, which are built by Volkswagen Motorsport in Europe. The cars have been updated to improve their handling characteristics, but will race with the same 2.0-liter 560-horsepower turbocharged engines that propelled the team to success in 2017.
“Our team has been able to achieve great success in rallycross and we look forward to continuing that legacy with the new ARX competition,” said Michael Andretti, CEO Andretti Autosport. “Scott and Tanner are some of the finest drivers on the planet in this motorsport discipline, and our cars are ready and better than ever.”
For information on the livestream of the first round of the 2018 Americas Rallycross on CBSsports.com on May 25, visit www.arxrallycross.com.
After Silverstone, the series will continue with three events:
July TBD, Austin, Texas — Circuit of the Americas
August 4-5, Trois Rivieres — Canada
September 29, Austin, Texas -– Circuit of the Americas