Steve Arpin took an emotional home victory in Red Bull Global Rallycross‘ first ever visit to Canada, taking the points lead in the process.
The Ontario native’s win was also his second in succession, making him the first repeat winner of the 2017 season so far.
Both Arpin and championship rival Tanner Foust won their respective semi finals, Arpin fighting back from a poor start in the second semi final to prevail after a forceful last lap pass on Chris Atkinson.
That set up a showdown in the final between Foust and Arpin, with whoever had the better finish taking the points lead after the race.
Arpin made a lightning start off the line, and despite calls that he may have jumped the start, race control ruled otherwise.
The privateer Ford driver built a gap to the field early on, while his championship rival Foust was hustled down the order by the Hondas of Mitchell DeJong and Oliver Eriksson.
Arpin and DeJong opted to take their joker at the earliest opportunity, allowing them to extend their gap to the field. Oliver Eriksson took his a lap later on lap three, but wasn’t close enough to the leading duo to challenge.
However, Eriksson would find himself down in fifth on the following lap as Foust, who had yet to joker, and Atkinson, who had, both found their way past. Up front, Arpin had a fight on his hands to hold onto the lead and DeJong continued to apply the pressure.
In the closing laps of the race, it was Foust, not DeJong who was posing the biggest challenge to Arpin up front. The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver had muscled his way past the teenager and was now closing in on the leader and setting faster lap times.
Foust saved his joker until the final lap, a move that should have given him the win, but he got too sideways on entry to the short cut, costing him time and allowing Arpin to hold on for his third career win.
“The third time’s a charm, and this is our third win,” said Arpin “How amazing is this—it’s Ottawa 2017, Canada’s 150th anniversary, so happy birthday Canada! We’ve had the good fortune to race all over the world, but this is what it’s all about.”
De Jong took third, ahead of Atkinson and Austin Dyne who had a quiet but strong showing to round out the top five.
Sebastian Eriksson, Cabot Bigham, and Oliver Eriksson completed the final runners after Patrik Sandell retired on lap three and points leader Scott Speed failed to make the start.
Speed was forced into making an engine change that led to him sitting out of both his semi final and the final.
As a result, he slipped down to fourth in the championship, 41 points back from new leader Arpin. Foust maintains second, just four points adrift, while DeJong moves up to third, but only a single point ahead of Speed.
In Red Bull GRC Lites, Cyril Raymond continued his dominant cross-continental Lites performance by beating Colin Braun and Conner Martell to the win.