Rallycross is evil. It combines grip and slip in a way that demands maximum performance from man and machine…and it’s mesmerizing to watch. Aggressively boosted, 600-horsepower subcompacts, most converted to all-wheel drive and fortified for racing, give no quarter on courses honed from the existing landscape.
Rallycross courses feature a shortcut called the Joker Lap that each driver takes on one lap of their choosing. The Red Bull Global Rallycross series is a 10-race championship and the Seattle date, September 26th and 27th, was the ninth stop of the campaign. Rallycross courses feature a shortcut called the Joker Lap that each driver takes on one lap of their choosing.
The popular mechanical combatants include the Subaru WRX STi, Ford Fiesta ST, Hyundai Veloster, and the Polo and Beetle from the Volkswagen. Popular pilots consisted of Ken Block, Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan, Bucky Lasek, and Rhys Millen.
Norwegian driver Sverre Isachsen and his Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STi came from a second-row starting spot to dominate the day at Dirtfish
After the dust cleared at the Dirtfish Rally School, the battle in Seattle provided a historical win and a dramatic shift in the season points standings.
Norwegian driver Sverre Isachsen and his Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STi came from a second-row starting spot to dominate the day at Dirtfish. He was the two things you want a rally driver to be; blindingly fast and boringly consistent. The victory made history as it was Isachsen and the Subaru team’s first ever GRC win.
“It is really important for the team,” said a prideful Isachsen. “We had built a new car for this season, and everybody put a lot of effort and time in the car. It’s really important, because to develop a car like this takes time. You do something wrong, but then something right, and of course we have a fast car. So it’s really important for everybody, all the Subaru guys, and especially also for me. I’ve fought such a long time here.”
Where Isachsen won the battle, Joni Wiman made a move to win the war. The Red Bull Ford Fiesta driver came into the Seattle race second in championship points behind Ken Block but an impressive runner up finish put Wiman 12 points to the good, heading into the season finale in Las Vegas.
Joni Wiman is 12 points to the good, heading into the season finale in Las Vegas.
“It looked a bit bad in the first half of the season,” said Wiman, “but we worked hard and never gave up in the second half of the season, and that’s been really good. It’s amazing to lead the championship. It was an amazing track—when we go out there the adrenaline started to rush, and I think it was the best track of the season. I really enjoyed it.”
Brian Deegan and the Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta ST was on the warpath at Dirtfish as he tenaciously pursued Isachsen throughout the 10-lap final. He was jokered late by Wiman, which dropped the motocross and off-road race phenom to the third pedestal on the podium. But was still a great day for Deegan who earned the 12th podium of his Red Bull GRC career, second-most of all time, and his second podium of the season.
Brian Deegan was jokered late by Wiman, which dropped the motocross and off-road race phenom to the third pedestal on the podium.
“If you had asked me yesterday how I’d do, I definitely didn’t think I was going to be on the podium after qualifying dead last,” quipped Deegan. “I’d say the worst thing about the other day was not getting laps, because this is the most fun track right here. This is the track where the real drivers are laying it down, getting through, being fast, and picking lines to find traction. I think this is rallycross, right here. In the end it made for a great race the whole time—just watching the cars go around the track was so entertaining, to see the guys and the driving talent out there. And car setup here, I think it was the most important track for car setup. It was a challenge for everyone.”
Ken Block looked to be the alpha dog in Seattle. Here he and the Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST got the jump on Tanner Foust in the first qualifying heat. Block won the heat handily and had the best lap times for most of the day.
Wiman established himself as a contender by winning a hard-fought battle in the second qualifier. He left Dirtfish with a 12-point lead with one race left in the GRC season. The chase is down to four drivers; Wiman, Block, Nelson Piquet Jr., and Scott Speed.
Tanner Foust has not run a full schedule in GRC this season and is using the tail end of the 2014 campaign to work the kinks out of a new race car; the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle. Impressively Foust won the LCQ in only the third race behind the wheel of his new V-Dub.
In the final Block and Foust made contact at the joker turn and the consequences were dire for both drivers. Foust ended up in a ditch on the inside of the joker and was shuffled back to a 10th place finish. Block damaged his right rear suspension and limped around the circuit, his Fiesta sounding like it was running on 2 ½ cylinders. Block ultimately finished ninth.
Scott Speed and his 7-Up/Andretti Rallycross VW Polo kept the dreams of a championship alive at Dirtfish. Placing sixth on the day was enough to keep him in contention.
Nelson Piquet Jr. spent a lot of time being sprayed with rocks as his SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST was in contention every time it took to the track. He finished a stout fourth in the final and secured his spot as one of four drivers with legit championship aspirations heading into the last race of the season.
David Higgins finished eighth in his first Red Bull GRC start since X Games Los Angeles in July 2012. Higgins finished seventh in that event, also driving for Subaru Rally Team USA. He came home eighth behind the wheel of a Dirtfish-prepped WRX STi.