Red Bull Global Rallycross Remains Unpredictable As Ever in Connecticut
All four manufacturers finished on the podium in GRC’s return to New England.
After an absence of several years, Red Bull Global Rallycross returned to New England this past weekend with their first events at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. GRC added a challenging gravel section, as well as the traditional jump, to a combination of Thompson's historic oval track and road course to provide a unique challenge for all drivers, regardless of their background. Each day's racing was a separate event, providing a doubleheader weekend for the fans—and an opportunity to score a great deal of points for the drivers.
Saturday's Supercar races were all about Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Tanner Foust. After winning pole position in qualifying, he proceeded to win all of his heat races and the semifinal, then led the final from the green to checkered flags. Teammate Scott Speed had a poor start in the final, but clawed his way past Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE driver Mitchell deJong's Honda Civic on the last lap to take second place, with deJong making his first GRC podium finish in third.
GRC Lites driver Cyril Raymond drove his own flag-to-flag race in the finals, taking the win over Christian Brooks and Travis PeCoy in second and third, respectively. This also earned Brooks the points lead in GRC Lites.
Sunday was a new day, and Loenbro Motorsports' Steve Arpin wore an entirely new livery on his Ford Fiesta than he had for Saturday's race. Tanner Foust began dominating once again, but a hard landing from the jump broke a wheel, causing him to crash into the tire wall and retire from the race. Arpin took the lead to win; Scott Speed took second and reclaimed the Supercars points lead in the process; and Subaru Rally Team USA's Chris Atkinson took third, for his first podium finish in Red Bull GRC. After many issues on Saturday, including a mid-day engine swap for teammate Patrik Sandell, the Subaru team was thrilled to return to the podium—especially after a 1-2 win at STPR.
Cyril Raymond swept GRC Lites once again for the win. Colin Braun took second after flying in from Saturday's IMSA race in Detroit, while Christian Brooks placed third, continuing his streak of making it to the podium in every race so far this year.
Though scheduled against the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, which drew many potential spectators away, both days' events were well-attended. Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins even came to watch on Sunday after winning STPR on Saturday.
It's somewhat fitting that Canadian Steve Arpin won Sunday's event, as Red Bull Global Rallycross will head north of the border to Ottawa in two weeks for another doubleheader weekend.