Alex Keyes ends Conner Martell dominance at COTA

by Dominik Wilde

Alex Keyes ended Conner Martell’s winning run in ARX2 at COTA in the first part of the Americas Rallycross support category’s season-ending double-header, winning his first rallycross event in almost two years.

Keyes’ last win came in the first race of another double-header event, at Global Rallycross Los Angeles in 2016. So far Dirtfish driver Martell has won each of ARX2’s previous rounds.

Both drivers started the final on the front row of the grid and made an equal start on the wet surface, the race following a thunderstorm that briefly halted proceedings. Martell being on the outside opted to take the first corner Joker on the opening lap, while Keyes remained on the main circuit, and began to pull out a lead straight away.

By the end of the first lap Keyes already had a lead of over four seconds, while Martell was already challenging Fraser McConnel and Christian Brooks who had also taken the joker lap at the earliest opportunity.

Martell passed the pair by the halfway point in the race, but faced a challenge by Brooks on lap four who made contact, but ultimately couldn’t find a way past.

When Keyes eventually took the joker lap on the final lap, his lead was over six seconds, and with the difference between the regular and joker laps being around two seconds, the win was all but assured.

In the end Keyes took victory by over four and a half seconds from Martell. Scott Anderson who spent much of the race in a distant second place finished third after being passed by DirtFish team mate Martell.

McConnell in the third DirtFish entry was fourth, ahead of Brooks and Cabot Bigham.

ARX2 COTA 2 Final 1 results

Alex Keyes – Buhl Sport Detroit – 4:14.017
Conner Martell – DirtFish Motorsports – 4:18.692
Scott Anderson – DirtFish Motorsports – 4:22.186
Fraser McConnell – DirtFish Motorsports – 4:24.112
Christian Brooks – Dreyer & Reinbold Racing – 4:27.125
Cabot Bigham – Dreyer & Reinbold Racing – 4:28.009

Despite failing to win for the first time this year, Martell remains in the championship lead, with a 15-point lead over Brooks going into the final day of the season. Keyes’ win moves him up to third, a further 10 points back from Brooks. Anderson and McConnell round out the top five in the points with one round to go.

Cole Keatts is currently six in the standings. Despite being the fastest qualifier the RX2 regular failed to make the final after stopping on track in his semi-final.

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