6.7.2014 (via thecheckeredflag.co.uk) - VW lead the way on the opening day of the Red Bull Global Rallycross at X Games Austin as Scott Speed, Anton Marklund and Tanner Foust all took victories in their first heats; Travis Pastrana was the only non-VW win as he piloted his Subaru to a win in his heat.
Joni Wiman set the pace early on in the day as he gained the top seeding after qualifying but an accident in his heat sent him head-on into the hairpin wall. While Wiman was not injured, his car was wrecked and had to sit on the sidelines for the rest of the race.
“We’ve had a lot of pace here,” said Scott Speed to GlobalRallyCross.com, “We’re trying not to do anything stupid. I took a very conservative start, and Isachsen was super aggressive, so I let him have the spot. Then I ran around until I got close enough to pass him on the joker without any incident, and just tried to go as easy on the car as possible.”
Speed took victory in his heat as he finished almost a second faster than the two Subaru’s of Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek. Lasek will be doing everything he can to win tomorrow after missing out on a medal in the Skateboarding Vert final. Brian Deegan finished in fourth place while Pat Moro registered a DNF.
“I was on the outside, which I think isn’t seen as the favorable spot,” said Foust. “I got by (Patrik) Sandell and was in the lead, but then there was a red flag because (Steve) Arpin stalled it in the hairpin. So we did it again, and lightning struck twice there—I got by Sandell on the outside that time.”
Foust would finish the race 1.5 seconds ahead of the Olsbergs MSE Ford of Sandell, with Rhys Millen finishing in third place ahead of Liam Doran in his Citroen DS3. Steve Arpin rounded out the 5-car field in last place, 6.2 seconds down.
Anton Marklund took a win in his round ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr, who is also taking part in the GRC Lites races this weekend. Austin Cindric would finish third while Wiman failed to finish after colliding with the wall.
X Games legend Travis Pastrana took the win in his heat to break the VW clean-sweep, ahead of a hard fought battle between reigning GRC champion Toomas Heikkinen and Ken Block. While the Gymkhana icon took the second place, Heikkinen will be looking to make up for lost time tomorrow. Ricky Johnson and Emma Gilmour rounded out the field.