Drivers Express Mixed Reviews Of First Turn On X Games Austin Track Layoutby Alanis King June 5, 2015 0 comments
Photo Credit: Alanis King
AUSTIN, Tex. — The first corner of a Red Bull Global Rallycross circuit is known for producing a cluster, and drivers offered mixed reviews of the dirt-laden opening turn at X Games Austin.
With dust kicking up and drivers taking a few spins into the first corner of the .570-mile track while making laps, it marks the most difficult of the seven for a handful of competitors such as defending series champion, Joni Wiman. For Patrik Sandell, it’s his “favorite turn” on the circuit.
“I don’t struggle at all in that turn,” Sandell said. “We have a really good car in that turn. [In] my rally background, that’s the type of corner I’m used to driving, so that’s not a problem.”
As drivers stuck to the inside of that particular corner throughout much of the time on track, GRC veteran, Tanner Foust noted the cycle that riding the inside line creates.
“The more cars that drive on the inside line, the more grip gets lays down and the more cars have to drive on the inside line,” Foust said. “That’s what you’ll see.
“The organizers did and interesting thing in practice — they moved barriers around turn one to force cars in different parts of the turn in order to wear grip in and hopefully make racing lines for the final.”
In addition to the attempt to make racing lines for the event, the surface is watered down to keep dirt in place. For Wiman, that method makes the first turn “maybe the hardest one” as far as slipping.
“It’s really, really slippery,” Wiman said. “It’s mud, and when they put the water on it, it gets honestly dangerous. But I like the track — when the gravel is dry, it’s a really fun track.”
Rather than the configuration of turn itself, Wiman noted that the added water caused a majority of his struggles.
“I hope they won’t put the water there [for the event],” Wiman said. “I was driving alone, and I spun two or three times per lap just because there was nothing I could do. So, I mean, if we have six cars going into the first turn, it won’t end good.”
In regards to the first turn when dry, Foust said that “it’s nice that it has so much gravel.” With temperatures nearing 90 degrees on Saturday, Foust believes that the dusty surface will provide for an extra challenge to competitors.
“I like the first corner,” Foust said. “It’s really challenging for the teams to set up a car that’s good on a Formula 1 track — like, so much grip and so smooth — but also good on braking on such a bumpy surface like this long braking zone in turn one in the dirt.”