The first driver to two wins in Red Bull Global Rallycross’ 2017 season isn’t from one of the three primary manufacturer efforts.
Instead, it’s privateer Steve Arpin, in the fused and new Loenbro Motorsports Ford Fiesta ST, that is one of the Supercars’ smallest teams and has continued to overachieve.
Arpin, who won his first race of the season in race two at Thompson Raceway Park a couple weeks ago, has now won the first of two races in Red Bull GRC’s maiden trip to Canada, in Ottawa at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Even cooler for Arpin is that he wins in his home country; he was born in Fort Francis, Ontario.
Arpin rocketed away from the start in his No. 00 JCB Ford and was never headed in the 10-lap final.
In one of the two Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross’ Volkswagen Beetle GRCs, Tanner Foust made it through to second in his No. 34 Rockstar Energy car, after using his Joker lap on the last lap to end just 1.445 seconds behind Arpin.
Mitchell DeJong was third in his No. 24 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Honda Civic Coupe, with the past GRC Lites champion making his second Supercars podium appearance. He was third at Thompson, race one.
Chris Atkinson in his No. 55 Subaru and Austin Dyne in his No. 14 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Ford completed an abnormal top-five result, ahead of Sebastian Eriksson, Cabot Bigham and Oliver Eriksson.
Neither Patrik Sandell nor Scott Speed was able to start the final.
Race two of the weekend airs Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC.
We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.
And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.
After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.
Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.
“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.
“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”
Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.
“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”
Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.