Last year, Nelson Piquet, Jr. held onto second place in Washington, D.C. as former Junior World Rally champion Patrik Sandell went on to take his first ever Red Bull Global Rallycross win.
This year the tables have turned, with Piquet taking his maiden rallycross victory in the US capital ahead of Sandell, who himself took a breakthrough first win of the season last time out in Detroit.
Although both drivers clearly have raw pace, the good friends have so far endured tough seasons. Piquet, running for the small SH Rallycross outfit had only had a brace of podium finishes up to this point, something of a surprise considering he led the championship at this point last year.
“It does feel like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders, it’s very hard to be in these kind of situations,” said Piquet after clinching the win in D.C. “We’ve been together for a year and the car’s not ours, its a rental car, we don’t go testing, I think leading the championship last year in our first year was really really good.”
Sandell meanwhile has often been the fastest car in the field but has been blighted with rotten luck for the majority of the year.
“We have been unfortunate like in Daytona we were so fast and then me and Ken (Block) got contact in the final and I was out, we did the second day but with a broken gearbox, that was bad,” Sandell said.
“We could easily have got some good points there. Same in the military base, leading the final by far, red flag, restart and in Detroit I was leading the final by far then the car broke down so when we got that win on Sunday it was an amazing feeling and I felt so good for the team.”
However, for someone who is more often than not, the class of the field on the first day of events, the ever-positive Sandell isn’t letting the bad luck put a downer on his season.
“If we have a good package as we have now, I know I can be really fast and I know that I can be up there all the time,” he continued. “It’s good for me, it’s good for the team when we go to a race that we will be able to fight for the top.”
With the D.C. winners now firmly even, attention now turns to the rest of the year.
“Now we’re equal,” said Piquet. Now we go out and try to do more wins, try to get better and try to get better every weekend.”
Read Dominik Wilde’s full interview with Nelson Piquet Jr. and Patrik Sandell here.