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Cyril Raymond becomes first driver to win WRX and GRC titles

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Credit: Louis Yio/Red Bull GRC

Cyril Raymond has become the first driver to win Global Rallycross and FIA World Rallycross titles.

The Frenchman claimed the RX2 crown with one round to spare last weekend by winning his home event in Loheac, France, as title rival Dan Rooke failed to qualify for the final.

It was Raymond’s fifth win from six events in RX2 this year, and his seventh FIA-sanctioned Lites category win after he won two events last year on his way to the RX Lites Cup title – the precursor to RX2.

In Red Bull Global Rallycross, Raymond began the year with a second place finish in Memphis, but he didn’t have to wait long for his first wins, with them coming in rounds three and four as he dominated the Thompson double header weekend.

Further victories followed in Ottawa and Atlantic City before he took his sixth victory of the season in the first part of the Seattle double header.

His impressive record, which had him finish outside the top two just twice meant that he only needed to start the second Seattle final to ensure he recorded an unprecedented transatlantic sweep of Lites titles.

In the second Seattle race, Raymond finished runner up to Christian Brooks, while pre-season Red Bull GRC Lites championship favourite Alex Keyes completed the podium.

The pressure is now off for Raymond – Credit: Louis Yio/Red Bull GRC

Raymond now heads to the Red Bull GRC season finale in Los Angeles next month, and the final RX2 round of 2017 in South Africa in November with the pressure fully off, knowing that he has undoubtedly been the star of the season on both sides of the Atlantic.

Prior to Raymond’s double championship win, a number of drivers had competed in both series, including Red Bull GRC champions Tanner Foust and Joni Wiman, as well as Ken Block, Andreas Bakkerud, and more recently Sebastian Eriksson and Oliver Eriksson.

Both Erikssons, as well as Austin Cindric, Joachim Hvaal, Miki Weckström, Cole Keatts, Sandra Hultgren, and Tanner Whitten had also made Lites appearances in both the US and Europe.

Current EKS racer Topi Heikkinen was previously closer to winning a championship in each series than any other driver, winning the 2013 Red Bull GRC championship and finishing second in WRX the following year – a Supercars feat that has yet to be bettered.

Heikkinen is the only other driver to come close to winning both GRC and WRX crowns – Credit: Matt Kalish/Red Bull GRC

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About author
Dominik Wilde is a professional motorsport and motoring writer that has covered events in both the UK and USA. His main focus for the Checkered Flag is covering Americas Rallycross and Nitro Rallycross.
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