Bryan Herta Rally Sport had their strongest weekend in Red Bull Global Rallycross to-date at MCAS New River with Patrik Sandell and Austin Dyne bringing both of their M-Sport Ford Fiestas home in the top four.
Just like at X Games and Daytona, Sandell’s #18 Kobalt Tools entry was often seen at the top of the speed and time charts early on in the weekend. The Swede took a heat win, second place in his semi-final and finally looked set to deliver the promise he has shown all year by taking the win in the main event.
However, despite marching into a convincing lead early on, the 2006 Junior World Rally Champion’s advantage was neutralised when a hefty smash from Brian Deegan brought out the red flags.
On the restart rival Ken Block made a great getaway to take the lead and Sandell was left to fend off Joni Wiman and Nelson Piquet Jr. for second place.
Despite missing out on what looked like a certain win, Sandell remained positive about finally banishing the bad luck that has plagued his year so far.
“The Kobalt Tools team had a great weekend; we were fast all day winning the heat,” he said. “We were leading the first part of the feature, but unfortunately there was a red flag came out and that’s part of the game sometimes. But we came back strong and got the Kobalt Tools car on the podium!”
Team mate Austin Dyne’s weekend was a little less straightforward with the former NASCAR driver battling fuel pressure problems on his way to his second top four finish of the season.
Hard driving by the youngster teamed with perfect strategy called negated the issue, with Dyne narrowly missing out on the podium in the end.
“The first run it was okay, we struggled to find a fuel pressure problem and were just sputtering and down on power,” said Dyne. “On the start it tried to stall, and I saved it with the clutch. Then it would clear out and run fine. When the red came out we were in 5th, and that didn’t really help our (engine) problem.”
“We had an awful start, but ended up passing four cars down the backstretch, and ended up in the top three. But we were down quite a bit of power, and just managed to miss the podium with a fourth place finish,” he added. “Had we had full power, we easily would have podiumed the Castrol MAGNATEC car again.”
Bryan Herta Rally Sport’s GRC Lites driver Collete Davis battled into the final after fighting mechanical issues all weekend. Despite making progress in the race, she was taken out of contention, eventually being classified in tenth.
“We had some mechanical issues starting off the weekend, but the River Racing team worked overtime and put the car back together,” said the ex-single seater racer. “We made the final, which was awesome. Right when everything was going our way in the final, we got taken out.”