Red Bull GRC: Speed completes Atlantic City weekend sweep

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Scott Speed’s roll in Red Bull Global Rallycross rolled on in Round 9 of the 2017 season. The driver of the No. 41 Volkswagen Beetle GRC for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross enjoyed a perfect Sunday in Atlantic City at Bader Field, winning all preliminary races on the day and then completing a lights-to-flag sweep in the Round 9, 10-lap final.

He was never headed from the off, after another great start, a semifinal win in the race just before the final and heat races before that.

“There’s no question our Circle K Oberto Beetle was awesome. It always has been; for us, we play a lot of defense. Today was the full performance. No one could touch us all weekend,” Speed told NBC’s Will Christien in victory lane.

This is Speed’s third final round win in a row and fourth this season as he extended his points lead, which was just seven points going into the race over teammate Tanner Foust (535-528). After the race, unofficially, Speed now has 616 points and holds a 38-point lead over Steve Arpin with Foust now third, 41 points back.

Foust’s miserable weekend in Atlantic City continued, having been penalized for contact in the semifinal and then trying to rally from the back of the 10-car field off the start throughout the race.

Further back, a good battle took place for second between Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE’s Sebastian Eriksson in his No. 93 Honda Civic Coupe and Steve Arpin in his No. 00 Loenbro Motorsports Ford Fiesta ST.

The two banged wheels occasionally and that brought Eriksson’s teammate, young rising star Mitchell DeJong in his No. 24 Honda and Patrik Sandell in his No. 18 Subaru Rally Team USA Subaru WRX-STi, into podium contention.

Arpin tried around the outside of Eriksson on the final corner of the final lap, making contact, but didn’t make it around.

Even more contact occurred beyond them with Chris Atkinson keeping his head in his No. 55 Subaru, moving into fourth, as Foust nudged Sandell and Sandell hit DeJong in a crazy finish to the race.

Unofficially, Speed beat Eriksson, Arpin, Atkinson, DeJong, Cabot Bigham, Oliver Eriksson, Austin Dyne, Foust and Sandell. Foust was assessed an five-second post-race time penalty (plus three seconds in an earlier race), which dropped him from seventh to ninth in this race.

The series is off until Sept. 9-10 in Seattle, at Evergreen Speedway, for Rounds 10 and 11 of the season.

‘Still quite early’ for Ricciardo to think about Red Bull F1 future

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Daniel Ricciardo feels it is “still quite early” to make a decision about his Red Bull Formula 1 future despite seeing teammate Max Verstappen announce on Friday he would be staying with the team until 2020.

Verstappen, 20, put pen to paper on an enhanced F1 contract with Red Bull, with his previous deal due to expire at the end of next season in parallel to Ricciardo’s own agreement.

Ricciardo was asked following practice on Friday why he is yet to strike a new deal for himself with Red Bull, and explained he is in no rush to make a final decision when he has over a year to run on his current contract.

“It’s not that I’ve said no to anything. It’s just still quite early I think,” Ricciardo explained.

“People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It’s still quite early.

“If I’m to try and extract some positives out of his news it’s that it gives us good confidence for next year. He and his management see a lot of positives in the team to continue like that.

“I’m 100 per cent here next year, I can at least say that, and I think it gives both of us confidence that we’ll keep progressing the way we are.”

Red Bull said upon announcing Verstappen’s new deal that it wants to “build a team around him”, with the 20-year-old standing out as a once-in-a-generation talent.

The focus surrounding Verstappen has not left Ricciardo feeling as though he is in the shade or in any way playing second-fiddle to the Dutchman, stressing he has no internal concerns at Red Bull.

“For sure, as far as media goes, he certainly gets a lot of attention. He’s broken records for his age and things like that, so rightly so,” Ricciardo said.

“Take the media out of it, as far as inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there’s always been parity and equality.”

Verstappen is only the third driver to commit to a deal beyond the end of next season, following Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso at McLaren on multi-year contracts.

All 10 F1 teams have at least one free seat for 2019, making Ricciardo a possible candidate for seats with either Mercedes or Ferrari were he to consider a move away from Red Bull.

Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports, Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko said he felt Ricciardo was “putting himself on the market” by waiting to make a decision on his future, but that talks would take place when possible.