Tanner Foust Takes the Win in a Dramatic U.S. Rallycross Main Event
The All-wheel Drive class A Main had to be re-started after Liam Doran crashed his Citroen C4 into a tirewall near Turn 1 on the second lap due to a tire puncture. Liam’s crash caused track officials to red-flag the course and re-grid the group, placing Doran in the very back. Mirra, who showed remarkable pace during practice, qualifying and Heat runs, was leading the A Main before the course was red-flagged. Mirra eventually secured second overall in AWD, his highest rally car racing career finish ever. Mirra’s teammate, Travis Pastrana, did not finish A Main before the restart due to a blown engine caused by mud caked his radiator and overheated. Despite being fast in his Heat races, Pastrana had suffered the same problem with overheating earlier in the day.
On the second start of the A Main, Foust got the jump off the line and stayed dominant throughout the race. This is Foust’s second AWD Class win in the new RallyCar U.S. Rallycross Championship and he was especially happy with his result amidst all the drama. Foust said, “It was chaos, but that’s what this sport’s about. It’s even more rewarding to come out on top when there’s so much going on. It was good fun, though!”
Three-time European Rallycross Champion, Jussi Pinomaki, placed fourth overall in his U.S. debut. Pinomaki drove an Olbergs MSE 2006 Ford Fiesta competitively throughout the Main event races, proving to be a challenge to Foust, Mirra, and Doran. Another notable AWD entry was 2005 Formula DRIFT champion Rhys Millen, who made his first U.S. Rallycross appearance in a 2002 ex-WRC Hyundai Accent. Millen had some teething issues with the car throughout the weekend but still managed to secure fifth overall in the AWD class. Millen stated that he had a fun weekend and expects to come back to compete in the third U.S. Rallycross round of 2010 in November.
Rally America’s 2010 2WD National Champion, Chris Duplessis, placed sixth overall in the AWD A Main in a rally car that was underpowered compared to the other competitors’ cars. NOS Energy driver Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard retired from the event during the Heat races, after experiencing mechanical issues that began with breaking a transfer case during Saturday’s qualifying session.
In the 2WD class, drivers from the South dominated the podium. Returning to rally racing from a year-long absence, Matthew Johnson from Apex, NC, claimed top 2WD honors in his Nitro Circus sponsored 1978 Ford Fairmont station wagon. Johnson showed speed all weekend placing many of the fastest times of the 2WD competitors. Johnson’s Fairlmont boasts a bored 348cc engine that was built as a track car by a friend “with a sense of humor”, says Johnson. “I also have a sense of humor, so it was an obvious choice of what I wanted to race in.”
Johnson normally campaigns All-Wheel-Drive Subarus in Stage Rally, but tried his hand at Rallycross in the Fairmont and placed first after overcoming muddy conditions in the entertaining and hotly-contested 2WD Main event. “This was the first time I piloted a two-wheel-drive car in competition,” exclaimed Johnson.
Coming back from a disappointing outing at the first U.S. Rallycross Championship event, Dillon Van Way from Carencro, LA, almost overtook Matthew Johnson in the A Main, but finished in second place in his 2002 Ford Focus. Van Way looked strong all weekend posting many of the fastest 2WD qualifying and Heat lap times.
Previous Rallycross #1 2WD Class winner, Josh Wimpey from Harrisburg, VA, landed the final podium spot and extended his lead towards taking the overall 2WD U.S. Rallycross Championship at NJMP this November 5-7.
Round 3 of the U.S. Rallycross Championships will take place at the New Jersey Motorsports Park on November 6-7. Tickets are available at http://www.njmp.com/.
Photos and Videos from this weekend as assessable at http://www.rally-america.com/events/2010/NJMPRC2/gallery/
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