Comfort On Dirt, Track Length Creates Confidence For Steve Arpin At X Games Austinby Alanis King June 5, 2015 0 comments
AUSTIN, Tex. – When Red Bull Global Rallycross makes its X Games Austin stop, a pattern tends to emerge: more competitors in the event, and a format featuring fewer spots in the final.
“It’s a tough format — there’s no room for error,” Chip Ganassi Racing driver, Steve Arpin said. “Zero room for error, and we need to be on top of our game.”
Though error can make or break the weekend with a six-car field for the final, Arpin finds himself “in a really good spot” for X Games due to a comfort level with the track layout. With a background in dirt racing, Arpin “love[s] the fact that there’s so much” — three dirt corners making up roughly 30 percent of the circuit — on this particular layout. According to Arpin, the dirt sections highlight “the best part about rally racing” — a slightly different racing surface with each encounter.
“It’s a moving target; each and every lap is different,” Arpin said. “That’s the way every rally course is. That’s what’s so special about this kind of racing.”
Because the racing surface will be affected with each shift of the sun, lap laid down and watering of dirt to pack the course, Arpin believes that drivers need to be able to “be right on that edge and follow” the changing conditions.
“If they go water it,” Arpin said, “it’s going to be different when they water it now compared to when they water it on Saturday.
“We’re laying more and more rubber down each and every time we go out. There’s no amount of water that can compete with this Texas heat in the middle of the afternoon — it’s going to evaporate; we’re going to get dust kicked up.”
While Arpin believes that the each of the dusty corners reacting differently in the sun will “throw a curveball out there for a lot of guys” this weekend, his focus is on the car itself.
“We’re really just making the car as drivable as possible right now, getting a good, solid foundation under it, and then we’re going to work on building our speed up from there,” Arpin said.
With room to build speed and “a lot of places to pass” on the longer track layout, Arpin looks to be among those final six drivers when the weekend concludes.
“As long as we be smart about it, I hope to be there at the end of the weekend and get my first medal at an X Games,” Arpin said.
Photo Credit: Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool