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Jun 06, 2014 - 02:37 PM
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Red Bull GRC Race Previews: X Games Austin
Posted by: newsla on Jun 06, 2014 - 02:32 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Red Bull GRC Race Previews: X Games Austin


IN BRIEF: After an action-packed season opener at Top Gear Festival Barbados, Red Bull Global Rallycross comes to X Games Austin with a field of 19 cars, including numerous former X Games medalists. Series full-timers Ken Block, Tanner Foust, and Scott Speed face off with Travis Pastrana, Ricky Johnson, and defending series champion Toomas Heikkinen for the only gold medal of the year.

 

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TUNE IN INFORMATION:

· Saturday, June 7, 1:30PM ET on ESPN (live)

· Broadcast continues at 2:00PM ET on ABC

LAST RACE: After a major accident eliminated Ken Block from contention, Scott Speed and Joni Wiman faced off for the first win of the year in Barbados. When Wiman took the joker lap twice and earned a penalty, Speed inherited the lead and sauntered away with the victory over Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan, who earned third place after another penalty to Wiman for rough driving.

DRIVER CHANGES: Six drivers who weren’t in Barbados will show up on the grid in Austin:

· Pat Moro, the only driver of the six to commit to multiple races beyond this weekend, returns in his #59 Chevrolet Sonic Racing/PMR Motorsports car.

· Travis Pastrana rejoins both Subaru Rally Team USA and Red Bull GRC in his iconic #199 WRX STI.

· Ricky Johnson makes his rallycross debut in the #48 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST.

· Liam Doran brings his #33 LD Motorsports Citroen DS3 to the grid.

· Toomas Heikkinen (#57) and Anton Marklund (#92) drive a pair of Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polos.

THE TRACK: Circuit of the Americas adds Red Bull GRC to an incredibly diverse roster of events that includes Formula 1. Built on turns 12-16 of the road course, the track features a nearly even split of pavement and dirt, including the series’ signature jump.

PEDAL FOR THE MEDAL: Four drivers on this weekend’s entry list—Travis Pastrana, Ken Block, Tanner Foust, and Rhys Millen—were also competitors in the very first X Games rally event back in 2006. Foust is the most prolific medalist in X Games rally history, with 10—including three in the Red Bull GRC era (2011-present).

YEAR OF THE ROOKIE: Joni Wiman, Austin Dyne, Emma Gilmour, and Ricky Johnson will all compete in X Games at the Supercar level for the first time this weekend. Wiman and Dyne raced at X Games Los Angeles in GRC Lites last year, with Wiman taking gold; Gilmour and Johnson will each be competing in their first X Games.

DOUBLE THE FUN: With the addition of Marklund Motorsport, Volkswagen will boast an all-time high of four entries in this year’s X Games field. The two Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross vehicles, driven by Scott Speed and Tanner Foust, were actually built and used by the Marklund team last year; VARX will debut their new Volkswagen Beetle, built in association with World Rally champions Volkswagen Motorsport, in the near future.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of this weekend’s Red Bull Global Rallycross event at X Games Austin:

Joni Wiman, Driver, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST: “It’s amazing to get the chance to move up to Supercars at X Games. It’s the biggest event of the season. It’s only the second race for me, so perhaps it’s a bit fast, but I’ve got the sped, so I’m confident about it. I learned to keep calm in Barbados—on the restart, there was a problem with the car after the first start. Everything took my concentration away, so I’ll just keep focused. Anything can happen in the six car final, so I’d be extremely happy to get a medal here.”

Liam Doran, Driver, #33 LD Motorsports Citroen DS3: “It’s really awesome to come to such an established circuit. It’s not every day that you get to come to a track that hosts current Formula 1 races, so that’s pretty cool. The track is interesting—it’s really tight and technical, but we’ll have to see what happens when the cars get on track. In my opinion, whoever gets the start is going to win the race—there’s a joker here, but it’s a shortcut, which means most of the guys are going to take it on the first lap and get away. It’s a technical track where you can definitely cover and block.”

Austin Dyne, Driver, #14 Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta ST: “I think it’s cool that we’re here at Circuit of the Americas. It’s one of the nicest facilities, probably in the top three, in the country, and it’s cool to be racing rallycross here. It’s definitely a pretty tight track here, but it should definitely be exciting. The start is huge here because it’s such a small track, and it’s going to be a challenge to pass people without rubbing them a little bit, but we’ll see.”

DRIVER POINTS:

1. Scott Speed, 54

2. Steve Arpin, 47

3. Brian Deegan, 43

4. Nelson Piquet Jr., 40

5. Joni Wiman, 36

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

1. Ford, 85

2. Volkswagen, 58

3. Subaru, 27

4. Hyundai, 21

GRC Lites Race Preview: X Games Austin

IN BRIEF: The second GRC Lites season opens with arguably the biggest race of the year: X Games Austin, held at the famed Circuit of the Americas. 10 drivers will attempt to kick off the 2014 season with a bang by earning the first gold medal given out at the new home of X Games.

LAST RACE: Joni Wiman’s clean sweep of the inaugural year of GRC Lites came to fruition in Las Vegas last November, as he held off Eric Faren and Sebastian Eriksson for his sixth consecutive victory. With the win, Wiman set an all-time record within Red Bull Global Rallycross for most consecutive wins.

DRIVER CHANGES: With only a handful of drivers returning to GRC Lites from 2013, the following newcomers will look to earn a strong debut finish:

· Nelson Piquet Jr. will drive the #07 car for Piquet Sports, as he runs full schedules in both Supercars and Lites.

· Atila Abreu, a close friend of Piquet’s, will drive the #51 car for Olsbergs MSE in the first of seven events that he’ll run this year.

· Alejandro Fernandez, a protégé of Buddy Rice, will also join Olsbergs MSE to pilot the #126 car.

· Tyler Benson takes his #60 car to Rhys Millen Racing, the second Supercars team (behind OMSE) to branch into the Lites class.

· Austin Cindric, a second-year USF2000 driver and son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric, will drive the #77 C4 Motorsports car that he will share with Blake Fuller this year.

· Colton Herta, also a current USF2000 driver and son of Barracuda Racing owner Bryan Herta, inherits Austin Dyne’s AD Racing car and will carry #98.

· Mark McKenzie will substitute for sophomore driver Harry Cheung in the Cohesive Front Racing car, carrying his signature #27.

THE TRACK: Circuit of the Americas adds Red Bull GRC to an incredibly diverse roster of events that includes Formula 1. Built on turns 12-16 of the road course, the track features a nearly even split of pavement and dirt, including the series’ signature jump.

HELLO AGAIN: Mitchell DeJong, Kevin Eriksson, and Geoff Sykes are the only three full-time drivers from the 2013 GRC Lites season to appear on this weekend’s entry list. Harry Cheung, a full-time competitor last year, will skip the weekend’s event due to a scheduling conflict; Tyler Benson, who also returns from 2013, only competed in three events.

WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY: Colton Herta’s addition to the GRC Lites field means that, for the first time, a driver born in the 2000s will compete in a Red Bull GRC event. Herta’s birthday is March 30, 2000, making him barely two months over 14 years old at the time of this weekend’s race.

HOMETOWN HERO: Mark McKenzie, the oldest driver competing in either class of Red Bull GRC competition this season, brings an impressive resume in sports car racing to GRC Lites. But McKenzie’s contributions to Circuit of the Americas perhaps overshadow his talent behind the wheel. His construction company, Ranger Excavating, performed over four million yards of cut and fill work during COTA’s construction.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of this weekend’s Red Bull Global Rallycross event at X Games Austin:

Mitchell DeJong, Driver, #24 Olsbergs MSE GRC Lites: “It looks like it’s going to be a really awesome event. This location is really cool, it’s an amazing facility, and the way everything is laid out looks great. I look forward to turning some laps on it.”

Tyler Benson, Driver, #60 Rhys Millen Racing GRC Lites: “Racing here is just a dream come true, because I grew up watching X Games, growing up riding ATVs and doing extreme sports, having my own tracks at home. I’m also a big F1 fan, and I was here for the first F1 race, so for me to actually be at X Games, plus racing at the track where I got to see some of my other idols race on, I can’t even put the experience into words. It’s so surreal it’s incredible. It’s definitely a bit tight and requires some precision, and the dirt can get a bit blue grooved and real slick after a while. From a driver’s perspective it’s fun to drive because it definitely requires all your attention and a lot of strategy in setting up for two corners down, carrying your momentum—especially in the Lites car, where momentum is key. It’s going to be tricky to pass, but we’re going to make some passes.”

Austin Cindric, Driver, #77 C4 Motorsports GRC Lites: “You’d think this would be my playground, coming from an asphalt background and being in F2000, but I’ve never actually been here before. To be an X Games athlete, that’s pretty cool. I’m working really well on the asphalt, because I have a lot of experience on that, but I’m still working on the dirt, especially the hairpin. It’s just one of the things I need to work on, because I’ve never been on dirt. But the jump is actually pretty easy, so that’s a nice place to calm down on the track. I’m having a blast!”

Geoff Sykes, Driver, #6 DTV Solutions GRC Lites: “This feels like a very motorsport-driven X Games. There’s just so much motorsports going on at X Games right now, especially being at Circuit of the Americas, a world-class F1 facility. For a guy like me—a racer at heart—I just love this place. I can’t wait to explore it some more, this is my first time here, and I’ll be back as soon as I can to drive the road racing car here for fun.”

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