Piquet Jr. Happy To Survive X Games Final To Claim Medal

by Vince Pettit

Nelson Piquet Jr. took bronze in his SH Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST at the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship race at X Games Austin and was happy to have made it through to the finals following an eventful weekend.

Taking part in both the main Supercar class and the GRC lites class Piquet Jr. started Saturday on Lites duty, this wouldn’t last long as he was disqualified for causing a stoppage as he misjudged the hairpin and blocked the track.

Moving back to the Supercars Piquet Jr. made it through to the quarter final races and there would be more controversy as he clashed with Sverre Isachsen in a misjudged attempt to pass. The red flag was flown following the accident that left Isachsen’s Subaru stranded on track and Piquet Jr. luckily escaped penalisation. Following the restart the Brazilian would be caught up in another incident as Moto X start Ricky Johnson took his joker lap, as Johnson exited the joker corner he slide across the track smashing door-to-door with Piquet Jr, the ex-F1 and NASCAR driver thankfully escaped without too much damage while Johnson retired.

The semi finals saw Piquet Jr. finish out of the qualifying positions but following a stewards decision Brain Deegan was give a penalty for aggressive driving and short coursing the circuit, this opened the way for Piquet Jr. to head in to the finals.

“I thought it was unlikely I would make the final because there are so many good drivers and good cars, but we made it,” he said.  “We survived, we had intelligent starts, and the team fixed the car race after race so the car made it until the end.”

The final wasn’t without its dramas as it was red flagged twice, once for the recovery of Tanner Foust‘s VW, which was stranded upside down on the first corner and secondly for an incident involving Patrik Sandell and Austin Dyne.

Piquet Jr looked set for a bronze medal finish on the final restart but accidentally took the joker lap twice, handing him an on-track penalty, as he took it Liam Doran forged passed. It wasn’t until the last corner when Doran spun out due to mechanical issues that Piquet Jr. realised he could still be in with a chance as he squeezed by and took the bronze medal finish from Doran.

“I made a silly mistake and took the joker twice.  We saw a few people make that mistake in Barbados,” said Piquet Jr. “At the end we still made it. I’m thankful for everything that has happened this weekend.”

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