It’s been the story of the season so far. The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, arguably the strongest in the paddock, has had their season blighted by bad luck.
One race win (plus a victory at the non-championship X Games event), three second places and a further two top fives would usually be a good return for a team in top level motorsport, but the VARX squad went into 2015 expecting so much more after challenging for the title in the ageing and under-developed Polo last season.
Following a turnaround for the team in Detroit, which saw Scott Speed net a brace of second places after he made the final only once (finishing ninth) in the three rounds before the visit to motor city, many expected the team to challenge for outright honours at the RFK Stadium.
After qualifying on pole, thanks to Scott Speed, the team certainly began the weekend in the best possible fashion, but that dark cloud was once again looming over the five-time event winning team.
Reliability issues struck the Beetles of Tanner Foust and Speed who eventually had to settle for fifth and seventh placed finishes respectively.
“There were just some fundamental issues this weekend,” said two-time champion, Foust. “I had a bit of a boost problem throughout the weekend that only got found after replacing essentially every component of the anti-lag system, and then we were having some difficulty with the dampers so unfortunately in the final I ended up frying the Yokohama tyres basically off the car.”
“In the heat race today, the one that got red flagged, we had the issue on the start. we couldn’t get off the line,” former F1 star Speed added. “That cost us pretty much the weekend because before that we were sitting in the driver’s seat, we would have been able to start first for the rest of the races and without a problem it should have been an easy weekend.”
Speed’s issues in the heats had ramifications in the final, where the one-time NASCAR Truck Series winner was left stuck in traffic, unable to make the most of his Beetle’s speed advantage on the rest of the field.
“Having to start on the third row, you’re just not able to go anywhere,” Speed added. You can’t go anywhere and you have to just take the points.”
But despite the setbacks, both Foust and Speed remain confident they will be the strongest drivers in the field for the final five rounds of the season.
“It was an unfortunate weekend, certainly,” Foust said. ” I think that the team that we have is the class of the field. I think it is amazing.”
“Today’s issues are a thing of the past and we conquer each one of these nuances of the car and extinguish them,” he continued.
“If we have clean weekends it’s very possible we end up with five wins for the rest of the year,” added Speed. “We will be the winningest driver this year because I’m quite sure we’re going to end up winning the last five races. I mean, we can’t have this bad luck every time. I really think that by the end of the year we’ll still win the most races, I’m sure.”
Read Dominik Wilde’s full interview with Tanner Foust and Scott Speed here.