The time of the first Global Rally Cross was in 2009. The intention was to bring in drivers from all sorts of motorsports backgrounds and adapt the European-style of strategic driving to a full audience of American spectators. It has been successful ever since. This season, Red Bull became the main sponsor and has made the series as successful as it is now.
The last of the season’s 2014 Red Bull Global Rally Cross was held in good ol’ sin city, Las Vegas, on Wednesday November 5th. The course was set up in the parking lot of the LINQ Hotel and Casino and was over a half mile long, featuring dirt, tarmac and a huge jump to give the drivers some gnarly air time. The backdrop of the well-lit hotels along the Vegas strip with the huge High Roller observatory wheel at the venue gave the final round the perfect setting to end the season.
Four drivers, Joni Wiman, Scott Speed, Nelson Piquet JR., and Ken Block, battled through the season to fight in the last battle as point leaders. But, rolling into the final hoorah, these four drivers managed to stay within point range to win the title. They kept the crowd on their tippy toes to see where the drivers stood throughout the day. Scott Speed and Tanner Foust each took a heat while Ken Block, who won last year’s event, managed to win them all. As the semi finals progressed, the driver standings narrowed down. Emma Gilmour, the first-ever female in the history of Red Bull Global Rally Cross, gained herself a spot in the finals. The Last Chance Qualifier win was taken by Sverre Isachsen, while Emma Gilmour, Brian Deegan, and Tanner Foust rallied their way to the finals.
During the start of the the main competition, a red flag was thrown when Scott Speed attempted to set a path away from the rest of the group right at the starting line and caused an accident with Bucky Lasek. This was the biggest tease of the night for the crowd that kept everyone in the bleachers literally on their feet, in anticipation for the main competition to resume after the collision.
Fifteen long minutes later, the competition was restarted with Speed placed at the end of the group. As the 600-horsepower rally cars roared through the course, Block, Speed, Wiman, and Lasek formed their own clique in the lead of the group. As Block started to creep away, Wiman maneuvered his way to second place tailing Block through his execution of the Joker Lap (which each driver must only take once per race). As the the checkered flag was waved, Ken Block swooshed through, taking first place, while Wiman remained in second. It was all good for Wiman as he only needed to land in second place to win the Season Championship. Following Wiman was Lasek, taking third place. which makes for his third time placing a foot on the podium.
The final round of the Global Rally Cross in Las Vegas was one of the most exciting events Sin City has seen in a while, and a suspenseful show put on by the drivers. Fireworks lit up the sky as drivers and spectators alike acknowledged the season win of No. 31 Red Bull/Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST driver, Joni Wiman. The 2014 Red Bull Global Rally Cross ended with a champagne showered podium in celebration of Wiman’s season championship. Wiman, the youngest rally cross driver in the sport, turned 21 in Vegas that same day. Perhaps, now he can partake in all of that championship champagne now.
Final Championship Results:
#31 Olsbergs MSE, Joni Wiman, 381 points
#43 Hoonigan Racing Division, Ken Block, 376 points
#77 Volkswagen Andrettu Rallycross, Scott Speed, 344 points
#07 SH Racing Rallycross, Nelson Piquet Jr., 307 points
#11 Subaru Rally Team USA, Sverre Isachsen, 280 points
#18 Olsberg MSE, Patrik Sandell, 246 points
#00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2, Steve Arpin, 224 points
#81 Subaru Rally Team USA, Bucky Lasek, 215 points
#34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Tanner Foust, 209 points
#67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing, Rhys Millen, 201 points
#14 Barracuda Racing, Austin Dyne, 150 points
#38 Rockstar Energy Drink, Brian Deegan, 140 points
#27 Hyundai Rhys Millen Racing, Emma Gilmour, 62 points
#59 Chevrolet Sonic Racing/PMR Motorsports, Pat Moro, 8 points
#199 Subaru Rally Team USA, Travis Pastrana, 0 points
#33 LD Motorsports, Liam Doran, 0 points
#48 Olsberg MSE, Ricky Johnson, 0 points
#57 Marklund Motorsports, Toomas Heikkinen, 0 points
#92 Marklund Motorsports, Anton Marklund, 0 points
#715 Subaru Rally Team USA, David Higgins, 0 points