Red Bull Global Rallycross Shifts Gears To Daytona International Speedway For Rounds Four And Fiveby Benjamin Sanders June 17, 2016 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross moves from a rainy Texas to the sunny state of Florida for an exciting doubleheader weekend amidst the high banks of the legendary Daytona International Speedway for rounds Four and Five on Saturday and Sunday. The 12-turn track will boast to being the fastest in the series as the switchback hairpins before the jump. have been replaced by a quick chicane. Tanner Foust and Sebastian Eriksson are the defending race champions.
The last round in Dallas shook up the standings as Bryan Herta Rallycross driver, Patrik Sandell, dominated the final and upset the series leading Volkswagens of Tanner Foust and Scott Speed. Steve Arpin, who followed Sandell through Turn 1 kept himself in championship contention with a composed second place finish.
“Any time you get a win at Daytona is huge,” said Arpin. “To be able to take a winning trophy home from Daytona International Speedway is an accomplishment in any racer’s career, whether in the lowest level of racing there or the highest. That being said, to bring home our first victory there for an iconic team like Chip Ganassi Racing—who does have so much history there, with the Rolex 24 trophies, the Daytona 500 trophies, so on and so forth—to be able to bring that kind of energy back to the shop would be amazing.”
A number of firsts will adorn the newly configured circuit as Brian Deegan and IndyCar ace, Sebastien Saavedra will make their respective debuts at Daytona International Speedway. In addition, the Honda Civic makes its first GRC appearance at the facility after having success on the road course in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series.
Moreover, SH Rallycross driver, Jeff Ward returns to the track where he made his sensational debut in 2015, only to be thwarted by a penalty late in the Sunday race and was denied a podium finish.
“Well this is the first track that I’ve been to that will be kind of the same as last year,” said Ward. “Even though the dirt is a little different, the turns are all the same, so I’m getting a little feel of last year. It’s a good track for this car because it’s a car that likes high-speed style compared to the point and shoot, where last year’s car kind of seemed to do a little better with that. They look the same, but they are totally different on everything. But the engineers, everybody here has the right platform to be where we need to win races and hopefully it should happen soon.”
The GRC Lites division will also be competing at Daytona with a record setting 15 entrants, which now includes IMSA Tudor United Sports Car team Core Autosport, with drivers John Bennett and former Roush Fenway Racing development driver, Colin Braun at the helm, along with the usual contenders. Australian Motocross star Blake ‘Bilko’ Williams also returns to the series for Rhys Millen Racing after making three starts last year, each ending up with a place in the Lites final.
“I’m just going to try and be smooth and consistent,” said Williams. “I haven’t had a lot of seat time at all, just one test day, so I’ll just do what I can do, just be consistent and really find where I am after qualifying and practice to see what we do on the track—whether you just need to settle, or what you need to work on to drive it to my limit, if I can push it a bit more comfortably and pick up a second. All in all, it’s a big learning experience again, because I’m literally just jumping from two wheels onto four. But I’m confident. I have a good team behind me—Rhys Millen Racing is really good.”
Olsbergs MSE youngster, Oliver Eriksson took the victory in Dallas after passing dominant car Tanner Whitten halfway through the final round. Cabot Bingham finished second after dispatching with teammate Whitten late in the race. Eriksson won the first half of the Daytona double header in 2015 and is looking forward to defending his victory from last season.
“Most of the time this course is pretty similar to last year—it’s exactly similar on the pavement I would say,” said Eriksson. “But they made some changes to the hairpins on the gravel. It’s maybe a bit faster on the gravel, which I think is pretty good—it’s more flowy and fast. The gravel means more action, you know. Winning here last (year) was really great, and I’ll try to defend it this time, but do better in the second round as well, because I had a DNF in the round after. It’s so cool to be in such an iconic place and I’m just going to have a blast.”
Live broadcast of the two rounds at Daytona International Speedway can be seen on NBC at 2:30 p.m. on both, Saturday and Sunday.
Photo Credit: Larry Chen / Red Bull Content Pool