Tanner Foust‘s fairytale start to the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross season continued in the second half of the Phoenix double header as he led home team mate Scott Speed for a commanding Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross one-two finish.
The two-time series champion never failed to win throughout the weekend, scooping a trio of heat wins, as well two semi final and two main event victories and a pair of pole positions to wrap up what was a comprehensive domination of the weekend.
As had become a recurring theme throughout the weekend, Foust launched off of the line perfectly in the final, leading Speed who was under pressure from Sebastian Eriksson.
The Team Honda Red Bull OMSE driver soon dropped back into the clutches of Patrik Sandell as the Volkswagens at the front of the field began to pull away.
Sandell, although appearing quicker, was unable to find a way past the Honda – the obscured vision brought about be a dirty windscreen not helping his cause.
Up front, Foust had built up such a lead that he was able to save his joker lap, unusually longer than the regular lap in Phoenix, until his final tour of the 0.929 mile circuit.
The win for him was a record-extending ninth supercar win for the Top Gear host, with Speed following him home in second.
“It’s incredibly rewarding, not just to win but to have both Volkswagens so competitive. I mean the team did work hard and this is really a vindication to come out in the first round and the second round and show that all of their work paid off,” said Foust. “All the other teams have worked hard too and the speeds have really gone up and the level of competition has gone up.”
“This particular track happened to suit our layout, hoping the same on the next track, but for sure it’s going to be a great season,” he added. “Different cars have different skills on different tracks, so it’s going to be a mix up. A lot of the new cars out there are extremely fast”
Eriksson held off the persistent Sandell to claim third, over 8.6 seconds behind the leading VW duo. The third place finish was Honda’s first ever Red Bull GRC podium in just their second event. The already impressive result was made all the more remarkable considering Eriksson ended the first day stopped out on track with his car engulfed in flames.
Steve Arpin continued his run of top five finishes with fifth, ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing team mate Brian Deegan who passed Austin Dyne late on for the position.
Jeff Ward ended what turned out to be a difficult first weekend with the SH Racing team in eighth place, ahead of Rhys Millen, while Joni Wiman completed the top 10 after a tough race that came after the 2014 champion was forced to make an engine change.
After the first two rounds of the season Tanner Foust sits atop of the drivers’ championship with a 25 point lead over Scott Speed. Patrik Sandell is a further six points back with Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan rounding out the top five.
In GRC Lites DirtFish Motorsports‘ Conner Martell times his joker lap to perfection to take the win ahead of Cabot Bigham and Alejandro Fernández, who made a forceful pass on Phoenix I winner Miki Weckstrom on the final lap for the last podium place.
Both Phoenix race winners top the GRC Lites standings with Weckstrom on 105 poins and Martell just a single point behind.
The next round of the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross season takes place in two weeks’ time at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas.