After claiming victory in yesterday’s first race of Red Bull GRC Los Angeles presented by Subaru Tecnica International, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Scott Speed again took top spot to complete a clean sweep of the event, blowing the championship fight wide open.
Once more, the VARX team topped the timesheets in qualifying, although this time it was Speed in pole position with team mate Tanner Foust less than a tenth of a second back in second place.
Just like the day before, Speed won his heat – a single heat for the second event by virtue of it being a double header weekend – and his semi final to progress to the main event. Foust also won his heat and semi, with Steve Arpin claiming the other heat win.
However, Arpin’s charge was halted in Semi Final A when he received a penalty for jumping the start. Ken Block and Arpin’s Chip Ganassi Racing team mate Brian Deegan joined Speed in moving forward while Nelson Piquet Jr. and Joni Wiman advanced with Foust from Semi Final B.
A notable absence from Semi Final B was Bucky Lasek after he made contact with an unprotected section of wall during his heat race. The resulting damage to his Subaru took him out of contention for the rest of the weekend.
A closely fought Last Chance Qualifier saw Patrik Sandell, Arpin, Sebastian Eriksson and Travis Pastrana all advance to the final while Austin Dyne, Brian Wong, Sverre Isachsen and reigning Rally America champion David Higgins were all sent packing.
Starting from pole in the final, Speed launched into an early lead. The rest of the field kept the former F1 racer honest through the opening sequence of turns but he was able to escape the ensuing carnage to build an early lead.
However, fellow championship protagonist Ken Block was caught up in the melee behind. The championship leader suffered damage from contact which dropped him to the back of the field, eventually putting him a lap down.
Brian Deegan muscled his way into second place and although Speed’s choice to take his joker lap late on saw Deegan briefly close in on the leader, the eventual winner was rarely troubled out front.
Tanner Foust passed Patrik Sandell late on to make it a second double podium in a row for the Volkswagen team, snapping Sandell’s three-race podium streak in the process.
Arpin completed the top five behind the Swede with a charging Travis Pastrana in sixth, ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr., Sebastian Eriksson and Joni Wiman, with Block a distant tenth.
Scott Speed’s double victory in Los Angeles completely changed the complexion of the championship battle from what it was four weeks ago in Washington DC.
Block left the Capital city with a 41 point lead over nearest rival Sebastian Eriksson, with Nelson Piquet Jr., Austin Dyne and Patrik Sandell completing the top five. Meanwhile Speed and Foust were sixth and ninth respectively.
After the LA double header, Block still holds the lead in the championship although the gap has been reduced to a meagre eight points. Scott Speed vaults up the rankings to second place with Sandell moving up to third. Piquet Jr. loses a position in fourth while a tough weekend for Eriksson sees him slip down to fifth, one spot ahead of Foust who climbs three spots.
Considered a championship challenger in the early part of the season, a difficult weekend for Austin Dyne sees him tumble down the order to ninth place, 101 points off the championship lead with a maximum of 150 points available in the final three rounds of the season – all but ruling him out of contention for the season honours.
Next up for Red Bull Global Rallycross is the final double header weekend of the season at Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados in three weeks time.
Now on a two-race winning streak, Scott Speed will be heading to the Caribbean island in hope of repeating his 2014 victory at the circuit.