Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Red Bull Global Rallycross Seattle

GRC VW Beetle driven by Tanner Foust

Words by Andy Lilienthal. Photos by Mercedes and Andy Lilienthal

The Red Bull Global Rallycross came back to Dirtfish Rally School outside of Seattle last weekend for the first time since 2011 and it did not disappoint. All the big names in the GRC Supercar class were there including Tanner Foust (in the VW Beetle above), Ken Block, Scott Speed, Bucky Lasek, David Higgins, and more.

This was our first time at a GRC event and it was great. Unlike stage rally racing, you get to see more of the action. In fact, think of rallycross as the motocross of rally racing. It's on a tight track with jumps, hair pins, and straightaways. There are also multiple laps and heats and then a main race. The course layout features a shortcut referred to as "the joker." Drivers can take the joker once during the race—a move that must be strategically planned. In fact, all drivers have a spotter that communicates via radio with the driver to tell them to take the shortcut, as well as when to overtake, when to slow down, and any other helpful bits of advice during the race.

GRC Hyundai Veloster Turbo driven by Rhys Millen

At this race, Ford, Hyundai, Subaru, and Volkswagen were represented in Fiesta ST, Veloster Turbo, Impreza WRX, and VW Polo and VW Beetle race cars, respectively. The cars are all-wheel drive, make around 600 horsepower, and are incredibly fast and wonderfully noisy. They feature a sequential gearbox, use Yokohama tires mounted on Method race wheels, and feature all the go-fast and safety equipment you'd expect on a race car. Plus they look awesome.

Global Rallycross Volkswagen Beetle at the 2014 GRC Seattle

The venue, the acclaimed DirtFish Rally School, is located just outside of Seattle in Snoqualmie, Washington. The site used to be a huge Weyerhaeuser lumber mill and still features a host of huge buildings. In fact, part of the track actually went through one of these long structures. The pines and hills around the area are very scenic which only added to the race's overall feel.

The racing was fantastic: Lots of sliding, passing, bumping, and dirt slinging took place—all part of rallycross's charm. If you get the chance to attend, we highly recommend it. Rally racing has a certain flair to it, and it was extremely evident at this event.

Here are the top results along with some more pictures. Enjoy.

Sverre Isachsen's Subaru Impreza WRX at the Seattle GRC
Sverre Isachsen of Norway, driving for Subaru Rally Team USA (above), took home first place in the Supercar class in his Impreza WRX. This was both Isachsen's and Subaru's first Red Bull GRC win. Like Subaru itself, Isachsen is well versed in rally racing. He was the 1999–2000 Norwegian Rallycross Champion and the 2009–2011 European Rallycross Champion. He has been with Subaru since 2012.

Joni Wilman's GRC Ford Fiesta ST
Second place went to Finland's Joni Wilman (above), driving the Red Bull-sponsored Ford Fiesta ST. His podium finish—and Ken Block's last-place finish due to a flat tire—put Joni in first place in the GRC standings, knocking Block down to second.

Brian Deegan's Ford Fiesta ST GRC car
Finishing in third place was Omaha, Nebraska's Brian Deegan in the Rockstar Energy Drink-sponsored Ford Fiesta ST. This was Deegan's 12th podium finish in his GRC career.

Global Rally Cross Lites
In the GRC Lites class, 17 year old Mitchell DeJong of Laguna Hills, California, in the Red Bull-sponsored car, took first place and clinched the overall Lites title. The all-wheel-drive Lites are powered by normally aspirated 2.4-liter Ford engines making 310 horsepower.

David Higgins' DirtFish WRX
Isle Of Man's David Higgins driving the DirtFish Rally School Subaru Impreza WRX for Subaru Rally Team USA. Higgins was not racing for points this day.

Ken Block sliding at GRC Seattle
Ken Block was going to be hard to beat during the race and looked great during the heat races. However, due to a flat tire, he came in last place in the final.
Tanner Foust driving the GRC VW Beetle
The head-to-head rallycross format is very entertaining. Here we see Tanner Foust in the VW Beetle fending off competitors. Foust made it to the finals, but ended up with a DNF due to a crash.

Bucky Lasek
Skateboarding legend turned rallycross driver, Bucky Lasek, watches a heat race before heading out onto the track in his Subaru Rally Team USA Impreza WRX.

Bucky Lasek driving the Subaru Rally Team USA Impreza WRX
Lasek failed to make the final round after stalling the vehicle during the last chance qualifier. 

Rhys Millen Hyundai Veloster
Motorsports legend, Rhys Millen, piloted the Red Bull-sponsored Hyundai Veloster Turbo. He finished fifth overall.
Sverre Isachsen and spotter
Subaru's Sverre Isachsen (left) and a spotter observing a heat race. 

Sverre Isachsen wins the Seattle Red Bull Global Rallycross
Sverre and his blue Impreza WRX were able to hold off the competition for his (and Subaru's) first Red Bull GRC win. Congrats to him and the entire Subaru team!

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