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Scott Speed secures second straight Red Bull GRC title

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LOS ANGELES – Scott Speed has come from behind to win his second consecutive Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, after finishing second in today’s final round, Red Bull GRC Los Angeles presented by Honda.

The driver of the No. 41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle GRC – dubbed the #PinkBeetle this weekend – ended behind Brian Deegan as Deegan claimed an overdue first victory this season in his No. 38 Chip Ganassi Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST.

Deegan used the Honda Joker Lap to leapfrog from fourth to first on Lap 11 of 12 in the final.

Tanner Foust, Speed’s title adversary, finished a hard-luck fourth in the final his No. 34 Beetle. Despite having a 13-point lead entering the weekend (465-452) and a six-point lead entering the day (523-517) before qualifying, the heats and the semifinals, Foust fell short of the title.

From the launch, Patrik Sandell moved into the lead in his No. 18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST ahead of Speed and Foust, who’d been forced to go into the Last Chance Qualifier after being assessed a penalty in a semifinal for aggressive driving. Deegan was fourth with David Higgins fifth in a Subaru. Contact occurred further down the order with Steve Arpin’s Ganassi Ford smoking and Austin Dyne’s hood coming up, the latter driver then running the rest of the distance with it up.

There was plenty of action beyond the top four but the critical moment of the race came when Speed went for the lead with a run on Sandell on Lap 11 of 12, which was a risky move in some regards because he didn’t want to risk losing the title if he spun or lost positions.

But both drivers got leapfrogged by Deegan, who’d saved his run at the Joker lap, and made the call to use it when he saw Speed attempting to go after Sandell. Once Deegan emerged, he came back on line right in front of Speed, and that was enough to take the lead.

Deegan scored a popular win to snap a several-year winless drought and promptly celebrated by taking the top of his firesuit and shirt off on top of his car in front of the fans. Meanwhile, with second, Speed had enough to secure his, Michael Andretti and Volkswagen’s second straight title.

Sandell was third with Foust fourth, Joni Wiman fifth in the top Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE in Honda’s home race and Tanner Whitten an impressive sixth in the 12-car final in his second Supercars race in his debut weekend with SH Rallycross/DRR.

Deegan’s win also vaulted him to third in the points, behind the Volkswagen teammates.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

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Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.