Scott Speed kept the momentum up from his victory at MCAS New River, and crept up on teammate Tanner Foust in the championship standings, by winning Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Washington DC at RFK Stadium. After failing to reach the podium in the previous two years in Washington DC, the Volkswagen duo of Speed and Foust came out with a vengeance this weekend. Patrik Sandell, one of Speed’s top challengers all weekend, placed second, while Foust came home third over Brian Deegan.
“Thank you so much to the fans who came out here at our nation’s capital,” an elated Speed said from the top step of the podium. “There’s no question that this is the race that we all look forward to the most. It’s such great racing here, and we are back in the hunt—two wins and we are on a great roll!”
This year’s Washington DC course returned to Lot 8 of RFK Stadium, however the direction was reversed as part of an entirely new .899-mile layout which made it much more exciting. The 10-turn course included a new technical section beneath the DC Metro, and a jump leading directly to the finish line. However it was hometown locals Volkswagen, located in nearby Herndon, Virginia, were the big winners.
Though the points may say that Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross drivers Speed and Foust swept all six heats and semifinals, their path to doing so was anything but easy—especially in the semifinals. Joni Wiman, the GRC champion from 2014, pressured Speed all the way around the course in the first semifinal; in the second, Sandell used the Joker Lap to jump from fourth to first, only for Foust to muscle his way back into the spot in the dirt section. Steve Arpin secured his spot in the final with his win in the last chance qualifier.
A downpour just before the Last Chance Qualifier washed out the track for the final two sessions, meaning the main event would be a clean slate for the first two rows of drivers. Fortunately for Speed, the polesitter, he was able to retain the top spot coming around the course for the first time, while Sandell, twice a podium finisher in DC over the past two years, jumped up to second place.
Patrik Sandell: “It’s been a couple of rough weeks for my team, but they really put together a fantastic car for me. I had a pretty bad wreck the last weekend and they have been working flat out since. I am so happy for Bryan Herta Rallysport, just to be able to bring a car back here and be super fast and put it all the way up on the podium. This one is for the team.”
Those two drivers would hold their spots for the remainder of the race, leaving behind them a real battle for third place. Deegan held the spot for much of the race, frustrating Foust in his repeated attempts to get by. It wasn’t until the final lap that the two-time Supercar champion finally found a way around his former teammate, Chip Ganassi Racing driver Deegan, to put both Volkswagen cars on the podium.
Tanner Foust: “I was inhaling the mud from Deegan from the whole race. We were going back and forth with Brian, and it was such a fun race. I’ll be honest with you, this is such a sketchy track and getting blinded by another car makes it hard to do anything, but it’s super exciting. I tried to stick my nose in there a couple of times—I spun one time and I thought it was over at that point, but I was able to get back. We have been pushing really hard, Scott and I, and we have been really fortunate to get up here a few times. Honestly, behind the scenes the cars are getting torn down, rebuilt, over and over again. On my side, you have the crew just going absolutely at it to build it for the race out here in time. It’s incredible.”
Red Bull Global Rallycross Washington DC are as follows:
1. Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
2. Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
3. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
4. Brian Deegan, #38 Loenbro Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
5. Joni Wiman, #31 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe
6. Steve Arpin, #00 Loenbro Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
7. Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Rallycross/DRR Ford Fiesta ST
8. Austin Dyne, #14 AD Racing Ford Fiesta ST
9. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
10. Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe
11. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI