Ford Racing swept the floor in the X Games Global Rallycross Championship season opener, with Ford machinery taking all top five positions in Brazil.
Scott Speed, of Formula 1 and NASCAR fame, took the win in his OlsbergsMSE Fiesta ‘Star Car’, leaving it until the very last corner of the final to take the lead and cross the line first.
“It feels unbelievable to win here in Brazil,” said Speed. “I can’t say how happy I am for my team and the OlsbergsMSE guys that put in all the effort. This was such a new thing for me, so I didn’t know what to expect. To come out here and win is just great. It was a hard race, I definitely got bumped around, and I really thought it would be much easier racing. To win by taking the joker lap [a required shorter lap] on the last corner to pull ahead is really spectacular.”
“The first time I drove the Fiesta rallycross car was when I got here to Brazil. The learning curve was difficult, but thankfully it just fit my driving style, which is really good. This has been such a great experience. These cars are the most fun cars I’ve ever been able to drive, and I’ve driven a lot. I really hope that I can continue doing this type of sport.”
Speed took victory on the final corner from Toomas Heikkinen, who had dominated proceedings up until that point, having taken his joker lap on the first lap of the six lap final.
“After the restart of the final, I kept the same strategy and was first off the start line once again.” explained Heikkinen. “My strategy was to take the joker lap first to gain extra space from the car behind me and it seemed to work because I led every lap until the last. I am very happy about the X Games silver medal and worked hard to get here. Overall, it was a great weekend for me and I am looking forward to continuing success this season.”
Two-time defending GRC champion Tanner Foust did not have such a good day, however. Foust had started the 10-car final alongside his OlsbergsMSE team-mates, but an accident at the very first corner forced early retirement for Foust and fellow Fiesta ST driver Ken Block, resulting in a red flag.
“At the start of the first lap in the final there were multiple crashes and I was hit by what seemed like everyone,” said Foust. “My wheels and tyres went crazy and the race was red flagged. They said in the drivers meeting today that if you had to work on your car you could not re-enter after a red flag. It’s a bummer because I only had about eight minutes of track time in Brazil, just a lot of practice. I’m just glad that there are four of these and this isn’t the only X Games this year and I’ll have another shot.”