Scott Speed triumphed in the opening round of the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, holding off team mate Tanner Foust for his third season opening victory in five years.
The winner of the last two titles dominated the weekend, winning his heats and his semi final en route to the final.
Foust was also victorious in the heats and semi final, while Steve Arpin, Chris Atkinson, and Sebastian Eriksson also won heat races in the first weekend of the new race format which now features three rounds of heats instead of two.
The final had to be restarted after an incident involving Patrik Sandell which saw him eliminated from teh race, but once it properly got underway, the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross duo of Speed and Foust settled into the top two spots with the three Hondas flying in formation behind.
Mitchell DeJong took third from team mate Sebastian Eriksson after taking the joker lap to escape for Arpin, but it was Arpin’s joker that proved to be the key move as he saved it for the halfway point in the race to jump into third ahead of both Honda drivers.
Eriksson meanwhile slowed dramatically, losing ground to third Honda driver Oliver Eriksson and Atkinson who up to that point had a quiet race at the back of the field. The former WRC driver wouldn’t finish the event, pulling off the track with two laps to go.
Up front, Speed took the win ahead of Foust and Arpin but despite controlling the race from the start, the former-Formula 1 driver faced pressure late on with the top three drivers all covered by one and a half seconds. The victory was Speed’s 12 in Red Bull GRC, making him the undisputed holder of the series wins record.
DeJong was fourth, with team mate Oliver Eriksson in fifth.
Cabot Bigham, in his first Supercar start, finished sixth, ahead of Sebastian Eriksson. Atkinson was classified eighth despite failing to finish. He was one spot ahead of Subaru team mate Sandell who failed to make the restart in the Final, while engine issues kept Austin Dyne on the sidelines.
The Red Bull GRC Lites season opener was won by DirtFish Motorsports‘ Conner Martell after early pacesetter Alex Keyes suffered a puncture halfway through the final. Reigning RX Lites Cup champion Cyril Raymond and Christian Brooks rounded out the podium.