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Jul 27, 2014 - 02:51 PM
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Red Bull GRC Race Recaps: The Dirt Track at Charlotte
Posted by: newsla on Jul 27, 2014 - 02:48 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Red Bull GRC Race Recaps: The Dirt Track at Charlotte


Red Bull Global Rallycross Race Recap: The Dirt Track at Charlotte
IN BRIEF: Ken Block was absolutely untouchable in Red Bull Global Rallycross Charlotte, qualifying first and winning all of his heat races on the way to a dominant victory at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Sverre Isachsen earned a career-best second place finish, while Nelson Piquet Jr. extended his points lead with a third place result.

 

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HEAT RECAPS: Under the lights on Friday night, five drivers (Ken Block (twice), Bucky Lasek, Sverre Isachsen, Brian Deegan, and Steve Arpin) earned heat victories in Charlotte, while Block and Tanner Foust took home the two semifinal victories. In a stacked last chance qualifier, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Scott Speed—not only Charlotte natives, but also the top two in points—led Austin Dyne and Bucky Lasek across the line.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: Block, Foust, and Arpin comprised the front row of the main event, which got off to a wild start when drivers hit the inside barriers of turn one and multiple cars stranded in unsafe locations necessitated a red flag. A broken suspension eliminated Austin Dyne before he could pull back onto the grid, meaning that nine vehicles would make it to the main event.
The restart saw drivers cleanly slide two and three cars wide through the Charlotte banks. The entire field made it cleanly to turn four before contact sent Brian Deegan, making his return to the series after a two-race absence, off the track and into the infield. Block checked out in the lead as drivers attempted to sort themselves out for top five spots in the running order, with Foust, Joni Wiman, and Isachsen running behind him early on.

A tire puncture caused Foust to plummet through the field just as Isachsen got by the rookie, while Piquet used the joker to perfection to make his way into a podium place. Wiman, Speed, Lasek, and Arpin would all make it by last weekend’s Volkswagen Rallycross NY winner, causing him to settle in a disappointing eighth.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: The results from Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Charlotte, the fifth round of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross season:

1. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
2. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
3. Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
4. Joni Wiman, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
5. Scott Speed, #77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo R
6. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
7. Steve Arpin, #00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
8. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo R
9. Brian Deegan, #38 Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta ST
10. Austin Dyne, #14 Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
11. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
12. Emma Gilmour, #27 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
13. Patrik Sandell, #18 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST

QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Charlotte, the fifth round of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross season:

Ken Block, Driver, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST: “For me, most of my career has been on gravel and dirt, so I wish more of these GRC tracks were like this! I enjoy the tarmac stuff, but it just isn’t what I grew up doing. We were very quick to get the car setup right, the team did a tremendous job getting my Ford Fiesta out to the front. We just got the starts and in the final we left everyone behind us. That’s another thing about this weekend—the gravel gives us so much more of an opportunity to find different lines and try different stuff, and the track constantly changes. I love that—I grew up racing dirt bikes, and to be able to go inside out and find a different line, try something else, that’s just something you can’t do on tarmac tracks. I hope they start dumping more gravel on these tracks, because it favors me and what I do with the car!”

Sverre Isachsen, Driver, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI: “The weekend was great. We had good cars last weekend, and we’ve developed the cars—the team is working really hard and the car is good. We can fight for first place. Yesterday I had a good practice, found good speed in the car, and we won a heat. The start was good today, but we broke something in the rear suspension in the car and could only make it to second place. But the weekend was really good, my Subaru team is working really hard, and I’m really proud to be part of it.”

Nelson Piquet Jr., Driver, #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST:“The weekend had a lot of ups and downs. Arriving here with the points lead, you need to have a more secure weekend and not take too many risks, to just try to eliminate risks over the weekend. I think that bit me a little on Friday, I had a second place and fourth place which didn’t put me in a good position for the semifinal. I ended up in the LCQ—we had a good LCQ and went to the final, but until the final it was a rollercoaster ride emotionally. We went from stressed to nervous to excited to angry. In the final, everything worked out well—obviously, in the first start I got thrown into the barriers by Scott Speed, but luckily the Ford car is very strong and we managed to keep going. The second restart was great, we gained a couple of positions, managed to keep calm and used the joker at the right time. I just kept my third place, I knew Scott was behind us and we were going to extend our lead in the championship. Our Haus Personal Vaporizer car was good this weekend, obviously there’s room for improvement, but I’m just happy to be on the podium with all my friends, sponsors, family, and everybody in my hometown. I’m really relieved to get third after not a good start.”

Steve Arpin, Driver, #00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta: “We didn’t get the finish we wanted, but we had fun all weekend. We had a fast car—we made a lot of adjustments on our Royal Purple Ford, we came a long way from where we started, and we were competitive. We were really, really good. We just kind of got caught up in Tanner Foust’s overdriving during the main in both starts, and it kind of knocked us out. With the way the track conditions were, we were battling the sun and the heat here in North Carolina, but it’s borderline impossible to eliminate dust in an afternoon show. From that point on, we were kind of just along for the ride, hoping that people would kind of drop out and we could pick up a couple spots. All in all, I’m happy—I got to race in Charlotte on The Dirt Track, so it’s a good day.”

FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Charlotte, the fifth round of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross season:

• This was Ken Block’s second career Red Bull Global Rallycross victory in 22 career Red Bull GRC-sanctioned event starts. He is the first driver under the new for 2014 race format (comprised of two heats and a semifinal) to qualify first and win every session in which he competed. He is the first driver to sweep a race weekend since Toomas Heikkinen in Atlanta last August.
• Sverre Isachsen earned the fourth podium of his Red Bull GRC career, as well as his best finish in 19 Red Bull GRC-sanctioned event starts. This is the first time that Subaru Rally Team USA has put multiple drivers on the podium in a single Red Bull GRC season.
• Nelson Piquet Jr. earned his fourth consecutive podium finish in Charlotte. He was the highest-finishing Charlotte area resident in the field.
• Joni Wiman earned his fourth top-five finish in five starts in the 2014 Red Bull GRC season.
• Bucky Lasek’s sixth place finish equaled his result in Charlotte from last season. He won the first heat of his Red Bull GRC career on Friday night, becoming the 24th driver in series history to win a heat race (not counting last chance qualifier events).
• Rhys Millen failed to make the main event for the first time in his past 13 Red Bull GRC-sanctioned event starts.
• Three drivers have made all four main events so far this season: Nelson Piquet Jr., Austin Dyne, and Scott Speed. Patrik Sandell had an incident in his semifinal that precluded him from competing in the last chance qualifier.

• Ford currently holds a 472-293 lead over Volkswagen in the series’ Manufacturer’s Championship, meaning their “magic number” to clinch the title for the third consecutive year is 109. The maximum point swing in a single event is 72 (if both Volkswagens win both of their heats and finish 1-2, all other manufacturers beat Ford with all of their vehicles, and the seventh and eighth place finishers fail to compete in either of their heats).

UNOFFICIAL DRIVER POINTS:
1. Nelson Piquet Jr., 227
2. Scott Speed, 181
3. Steve Arpin, 164
4. Joni Wiman, 162
5. Ken Block, 155
6. Patrik Sandell, 120
7. Tanner Foust, 112
8. Sverre Isachsen, 109
9. Austin Dyne, 102
10. Bucky Lasek, 87
11. Brian Deegan, 85
12. Rhys Millen, 68
13. Emma Gilmour, 24
14. Pat Moro, 3

UNOFFICIAL MANUFACTURER POINTS:
1. Ford, 472
2. Volkswagen, 293
3. Subaru, 196
4. Hyundai, 92
5. Chevrolet, 3

GRC Lites Race Recap: The Dirt Track at Charlotte

IN BRIEF: It was back to business as usual in the GRC Lites event at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, as Mitchell DeJong took his third victory in four races over Olsbergs MSE teammate Kevin Eriksson. In only his second career GRC Lites start, 16-year-old Oliver Eriksson rounded out the field with a third place finish.

HEAT RECAPS: Friday night’s heats saw Oliver Eriksson make a thrilling last-lap pass to win one heat, while brother Kevin won the second heat of the night. Saturday was a return to normalcy, as Kevin Eriksson’s heat victory was matched by another heat win by Mitchell DeJong, his seventh in eight tries this season.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: A slam-bang final required two starts, the first attempt compromised after defending Charlotte runner-up Geoff Sykes saw his car stranded off of the side of the jump. On the restart, it was all DeJong, who pulled away from the pack with a series of impressive laps. Alejandro Fernandez, who led most of his first heat and seemed poised for the first podium of his career, couldn’t quite pull it off after Oliver Eriksson used the joker to perfection once again.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: The results from Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Charlotte, the fourth round of the 2014 GRC Lites season:
1. Mitchell DeJong, #24 Olsbergs MSE
2. Kevin Eriksson, #96 Olsbergs MSE
3. Oliver Eriksson, #16 Olsbergs MSE
4. Alejandro Fernandez, #126 Olsbergs MSE
5. Tyler Benson, #60 Rhys Millen Racing
6. Geoff Sykes, #6 DTV Solutions
7. Austin Cindric, #77 C4 Motorsports

QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Charlotte, the fourth round of the 2014 GRC Lites season:

Mitchell DeJong, Driver, #24 Olsbergs MSE GRC Lites: “I’m really happy with how today turned out. The track was really similar to last year, but there were a few differences, and I liked it a lot more. It was really tough where this morning, we had a lot more grip, and in the final it was very low grip. You had to change your lines quite a bit. I was very hard on myself after Friday—in turn one I had contact with someone else and it bent my steering quite a lot, so it was just trying to hold on for those laps and it was very frustrating. Fortunately, day two turned out to be a lot better, and I’m happy with the outcome!”

Kevin Eriksson, Driver, #96 Olsbergs MSE GRC Lites: “Today the track was really fun, and it was drivable. Last year I think it was too soft, the ground was really bumpy and it was not so fun, but today the guys were really good. Personally I liked it more this year, it was more smooth and not so stop and go all the time. Here, you need to drive your own race—unfortunately, after the restart, I got in safe mode on my car after five laps in for the final, and it didn’t rev as much. I think Mitchell and I would have had a tight finish but I lost too much with safe mode in the car car, so next time!”

Oliver Eriksson, Driver, #16 Olsbergs MSE GRC Lites: “It’s so much fun to drive on dirt. It was a little bit slippery in the final, but it was fun to drive. It was a little bit hard for me because I broke the steering in the first corner on the first try, but I managed to keep the car on the track and have a good place, so I’m happy. My strategy was me and my spotter—he’s quite new in the sport but he does it really really well, so I’m happy with him and happy with our strategy.”

FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Charlotte, the fourth round of the 2014 GRC Lites season:
• Mitchell DeJong’s third victory of the season also marked his sixth career GRC Lites podium, tying Joni Wiman for the series record. He has four podium finishes in four starts this season, as well as two podium results from 2013 in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
• Kevin Eriksson finished second for the third time this season. He now has five career GRC Lites podiums.
• Oliver Eriksson’s first career GRC Lites podium came in only his second career start. Other than drivers who started the inaugural GRC Lites event in New Hampshire last July, he becomes the sixth driver to accomplish this feat in only his second start or sooner, following Austin Dyne (Bristol, July 2013), Alexander Westlund (Bristol, July 2013), Eric Faren (Las Vegas, November 2013), Nelson Piquet Jr. (Washington DC, June 2014), and Pedro Piquet (New York, July 2014).
• Alejandro Fernandez’s fourth place finish is the best result of his GRC Lites career. He has now finished second in each of his past three heat starts.
• Tyler Benson’s fifth place finish tied the best result of his GRC Lites career, previously accomplished last week in New York. He earned two runner-up finishes in his heat races for the first time in his career.

UNOFFICIAL DRIVER POINTS:
1. Mitchell DeJong, 217
2. Kevin Eriksson, 207
3. Alejandro Fernandez, 115
4. Geoff Sykes, 111
5. Austin Cindric, 97
6. Tyler Benson, 95
7. Oliver Eriksson, 82
8. Nelson Piquet Jr., 75
9. Atila Abreu, 72
10. Pedro Piquet, 43
11. Colton Herta, 16



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