Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull GRC: Speed snatches win from Sandell in Atlantic City 1

Leave a comment

Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Scott Speed ran down Subaru Rally Team USA’s Patrik Sandell in the final few laps of Red Bull Global Rallycross’ first race at Atlantic City at Bader Field, to claim a decisive victory in Round 8 of the 2017 season.

After using the Joker lap on Lap 5 of 10, Speed launched past Sebastian Eriksson’s Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Honda Civic Coupe for second, and then had a handful of laps to catch race leader Sandell to secure his third win of the year and second in a row, denying Sandell both his and Subaru’s first 2017 wins in the process.

On Lap 9, Speed forged through on the dirt, muscling his way past Sandell – briefly – before Sandell regained the lead over the jump on the same lap. But Speed made it through just at the end of the lap to hang on for the lead, then brought it home a lap later.

With his 14th career win, Speed now moves into first in Red Bull GRC history among race winners, breaking a tie with teammate Tanner Foust. Unofficially he now has a 7 point lead over Foust (535-528) with Steve Arpin 18 points back in third.

“To be fair, he drove a great race and it was a super difficult pass to make! It was such great racing at the end!” Speed exhaled to NBCSN’s Will Christien, describing the battle with Sandell.

Sandell was a season-best second, while Steve Arpin in his Loenbro Motorsports Ford Fiesta made it to third on the final lap, getting around Eriksson. With Volkswagen, Subaru, Ford and Honda in the top-four positions, it made it four manufacturers in as many positions.

Mitchell DeJong was fifth ahead of Oliver Eriksson and Austin Dyne, with Cabot Bigham, Chris Atkinson and Foust all out of the race.  Results are unofficial.

As noted, for Foust, day one in Atlantic City couldn’t have gone any worse. He entered with a 22-point lead but contact with Speed on the opening lap sent him off course, somehow saving the car even as he careened through the grass. But things got worse upon re-entering when making contact with another car, which appeared to be Arpin, sending him into a final spin and first lap retirement.

Sunday’s second race coverage from Atlantic City airs at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.