Patrik Sandell took victory in the Volkswagen Rallycross DC event, held at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. The race was somewhat of a landmark with it being the first motorsports event to take place in the nation’s capital in over a decade.
Sandell earned his first Red Bull GRC victory by beating Nelson Piquet Jr. and teammate Joni Wiman to the finish. Sandell carried his momentum from a solid day Saturday, and turned it into a trip to the winner’s circle on Sunday.
“It’s absolutely perfect,” Sandell said after the event. “I felt when we came here that if I could just be smart and not make any mistakes, I could fight for the top. And I knew that the start at the final was so important, so I just tried to focus on that as much as I could. I think I took the start directly on the light, and that made me come off the line so good. That was the key to everything.”
Piquet Jr. took the top seed on Saturday and won both of his heat races, as did Sandell and Wiman. Piquet Jr. and Steve Arpin won the two semifinals, while Tanner Foust earned the victory in the last chance qualifier to make it to his first final of the 2014 season despite an engine change that forced him to miss the first two heat races held on Saturday.
“Everybody gave each other enough space,” said Piquet. “Being teammates, obviously we’re going to respect each other. Obviously if I wasn’t a teammate I would have tried a little harder. But we have to work together, we have to help each other. Between races we all go into each other’s trailers and look at each other’s data, we look at videos, and we are a team. We have to act like that, and on the racetrack it shows.”
Rookie Joni Wiman managed to earn some valuable series points with a podium finish (his first in the Supercars class). If it wasn’t for jumping the start in Heat A, resulting in a trip to the penalty box, Wiman would have had a great shot at winning the race. Still, with this result, he moves into the top five in the championship standings.
Current point’s leader Scott Speed, who had major mechanical issues on Saturday, finished sixth in D.C. Emma Gilmour finished third in both her heats as she is still looking to take her first steps on the podium.
“Although I didn’t make the last chance qualifier race for the final, it was a good weekend in terms of making progress with my Veloster. I am working closely with the RMR engineers to find a set-up that suits my driving and feel like we are making progress.”
“In some respects, this first year was a test run for us and so we were conservative with our plans. But, Volkswagen Rallycross DC exceeded our expectations,” said Tim Mayer-General Manager, Volkswagen Rallycross DC. “This sell-out crowd is proof positive of how the incredible action of Red Bull Global Rallycross, the great venue here at RFK Stadium, and a festival atmosphere attracts a diverse audience of all ages.”
Ahead of the Volkswagen Rallycross DC event current GRC Driver Rhys Millen drifted through his adopted country’s famous landmarks escorted through the city by a police motorcade. He blazed past the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building, ending his journey at the dirt and gravel racetrack at RFK stadium.
Full results from Red Bull Global Rallycross Volkswagen Rallycross DC are as follows:
1. Patrik Sandell, #18 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
2. Nelson Piquet Jr., #75 SH Racing Rallycross Ford, Fiesta ST
3. Joni Wiman, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
4. Steve Arpin, #00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
5. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
6. Scott Speed, #77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
7. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
8. Austin Dyne, #14 Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
9. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
10. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
11. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
12. Emma Gilmour, #27 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
2014 GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
May 17-18: Barbados, Top Gear Festival.
June 7: Austin, X-Games.
June 21-22: Washington.
July 19-20: New York.
July 25-26: Charlotte.
August 2-3: Detroit.
August 22-23: Daytona.
September 19-20: San Pedro.
September 26-27: Seattle.
November 5: Las Vegas.