Scott Speed took his third win from five starts in Los Angeles to head into the final round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross season just six points behind team mate and championship leader Tanner Foust.
The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross pair were untouchable in the final, eliminating every other driver from championship contention in the process to set up a titanic championship battle on Sunday.
“When we don’t have mechanicals or incidents, we qualify first or second, and we stay there,” Speed said after chalking up his fourth win of the season on Saturday. “Yesterday and today, we had a clean day with our car. It ran at 100% the whole time, and when it does that it’s typically the fastest car out there. Today, that was very evident, and tomorrow will be exciting, no question!”
The first round of heat wins were shared between Speed and Honda driver Joni Wiman who finally brought an end to Foust’s 25-race long unbeaten run in the heats. Both drivers would double up in round two, with Speed leading home Foust and Wiman beating Steve Arpin.
The semi finals saw Speed once again pull off into the distance as carnage ensued behind. Sebastian Eriksson would hold on for second with Brian Deegan edging David Higgins for the final transfer spot while Red Bull GRC Lites graduate Tanner Whitten and Arpin, who failed to finish, were sent to the Last Chance Qualifier.
In the second semi final, a lightning start for Supercars debutant Mitchell DeJong saw him take an early lead, but a big fire for fellow rookie Toshi Arai meant that the race would be restarted.
On the restart, it was third time lucky for Foust who beat Wiman, while Chris Atkinson held off DeJong for the last spot in the final. Patrik Sandell was wiped out from the race late on as his left rear suspension and wheel assembly was spectacularly torn from the car.
After Arai’s fire, every driver in the LCQ would make it to the 12 lap final.
The final saw Speed again follow a similar script as he got an early lead with fellow VARX driver Foust in tow.
The real action was behind in the battle for third as Deegan and Higgin fought for the final podium spot early on only for Steve Arpin to come from the back to snatch the position.
His Chip Ganassi Racing team mate Deegan settled for fourth, with Sandell – now with all four wheels firmly reattached – completing the top 10.
David Higgins took sixth ahead of fellow Subaru star Chris Atkinson, with Mitchell DeJong surprisingly being the highest-placed Honda in eighth,
Sebastian Eriksson was ninth with Tanner Whitten completing the top 10. Joni Wiman and Austin Dyne rounded out the field while Toshi Ari was not classified.
Alex Keyes took Red Bull GRC Lites honours. The last minute stand-in for Tanner Whitten (who replaced Nelson Piquet Jr. at SH Racing in Supercars) dominated the entire event. In the final he beat championship rivals Miki Weckstrom and Cabot Bigham to victory.
Weckstrom and Bigham now sit second and third in the Red Bull GRC Lites standings, with defending champion Oliver Eriksson topping the table. All three drivers are covered by just seven points.