Brian Deegan wins as Scott Speed takes title

by Dominik Wilde

Brian Deegan has broken a winless streak stretching back five years by winning the final race of the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross season in a race that saw Scott Speed beat team mate Tanner Foust to the championship.

Deegan, who last won in 2011 timed his joker to perfection to get past Speed, early race leader Patrik Sandell, and Foust.

In the heats, Subaru Rally Team USA‘s Chris Atkinson couldn’t make the most of pole position as he finished heat 1A in third behind Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan. Meanwhile Foust lead home Speed in 1B.

Speed would go on to take victory in semi final A ahead of Arpin, while Joni Wiman, celebrating his 23rd birthday, won an intense semi final B ahead of Sandell.

Foust droped back early on due to contact with Deegan, fighting his way back to reclaim third from the Ford driver on the last lap, only to be given a penalty for aggressive driving which knocked him out of the final transfer spots and into the Last Chance Qualifier.

He would go on to win that LCQ, setting up a winner-takes all showdown against VARX stablemate Speed in the final. They went into the final 12 lap race of the year with just four points separating them, meaning that no matter what the result was, whoever finished in front won the title.

Tanner Foust had to work his way through the LCQ en route to the final - Credit: Louis Yio/Red Bull Global Rallycross

Tanner Foust had to work his way through the LCQ en route to the final – Credit: Louis Yio/Red Bull Global Rallycross

Scott Speed made his now-traditional strong start but it was Patrik Sandell who got off the best, charging round the outside to hold the lead into the first braking zone. Foust wrestled his way through the pack to take third behind Speed.

All three leaders took the joker lap on the second lap of the race, with Sandell continuing to lead as Foust applied the pressure on Speed. Further back, Brian Deegan was closing in on the leaders but he was yet to take the joker.

The top three all closed up on one another on more than one occasion, but it was Speed who was to make the first move, passing Sandell for the lead just before the jump.

He wasn’t to hold onto that lead for long, however, as Deegan continued to close in on the leaders. He timed his joker to perfection with two laps to go to emerge as the leader.

He would hold on to claim his first win since X Games Los Angeles in 2011, while second place was enough to secure back-to-back championships for Speed.

Patrik Sandell occupied the final podium spot, ahead of Tanner Foust who had held the championship lead on all-but-one weekend this season.

Joni Wiman was fifth, ahead of Tanner Whitten, Chris Atkinson, Austin Dyne, and David Higgins.

Steve Arpin, Mitchell DeJong, and Sebastian Eriksson all failed to win the race while Toshi Arai failed to make it out of the LCQ.

Cabot Bigham won the Red Bull GRC Lites final and the championship - Credit: /Red Bull Global Rallycross

Cabot Bigham won the Red Bull GRC Lites final and the championship – Credit: Larry Chen/Red Bull Global Rallycross

In Red Bull GRC Lites, Cabot Bigham won the final from last on the grid to claim his first Red Bull GRC crown in what was his first year of rallycross racing.

He took the lead in the race after team mate, LA I winner, and early race leader Alex Keyes pulled off course. Bigham’s championship rival Miki Weckstrom‘s race also ended early, ending his championship hopes.

The Red Bull GRC Lites final also marked the first double podium for the COREautosport team, as Colin Braun and Scott Anderson took second and third.

2015 champion Oliver Eriksson missed out on retaining the crown after finishing in fourth.

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