Red Bull GRC: Rhys Millen, Hyundai score Daytona win

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Rhys Millen became the fifth different winner of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross season this afternoon at Daytona International Speedway, beating out Ken Block and Bucky Lasek to score the victory in his Hyundai Veloster.

“It’s just amazing with how strong the car was coming into this weekend,” Millen told NBC after his inaugural Red Bull GRC win. “To have the troubles of blowing an engine yesterday with a cam belt failure – but the car was on point.

“We had the fastest car this weekend, had some respectable driving from the other competitors up front, and we did what we set out to do three years ago.”

Millen, a former world record holder in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, set himself up for the final with a victory in the first semi over Lasek and Patrik Sandell.

Semifinal Two began with contact between Block and Scott Speed in the hairpin section. Speed sustained front-end damage severe enough to knock him out of the race, but just a few turns later, Block was apparently pushed off track by championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr., who took over the point.

A few laps later, Piquet was told by Race Control to serve a stop-and-go penalty, sending him back to third behind Austin Dyne and Tanner Foust. Foust ramped up the pressure on Dyne heading for the final lap, but on the entry to Turn 1, Foust lost control and spun into the tire barriers.

Luckily for him, the damage was minimal enough to allow him to continue in third place, which is where he would take the checkered flag behind Dyne and second-place Piquet.

That led into the last chance qualifier, which was led wire-to-wire by Block with Joni Wiman in second and Sverre Isachsen in third. The fourth and last transfer spot to the final, however, was in doubt up to the very end.

On Lap 2 of the 4-lap LCQ, Speed and his wounded VW took the joker to move past Steve Arpin for fourth. The final lap saw Arpin draw close to Speed, but he went off-course, ensuring that Speed would hold on and make the main event.

In the 8-lap final, Millen quickly pulled away from a tight battle for second between Block and Dyne that saw them flip-flop positions through the hairpins before Block came up with it.

On Lap 3, Lasek used the joker to take the third and final podium position from Dyne, only to come under attack from a charging Foust late in the race. Foust got the inside position on Lasek but took the entrance to the hairpins section too tight and got turned around, while Speed was spotted exiting his car after running into a barrier.

Away from it all was Millen, who went on to a well-deserved win.

Red Bull GRC now moves on to a pivotal doubleheader weekend at the Port of Los Angeles on Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21. Piquet will enter Tinseltown with a 40-point lead in the standings over Block.

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra (online/mobile) will air each day’s final live at 5 p.m. ET.

RED BULL GLOBAL RALLYCROSS AT DAYTONA – Final
Unofficial Results

1. 67-Rhys Millen
2. 43-Ken Block, -1.8 seconds
3. 81-Bucky Lasek, -11.4 seconds
4. 18-Patrik Sandell, -17.4 seconds
5. 11-Sverre Isachsen, -28.4 seconds
6. 34-Tanner Foust, -49.2 seconds
7. 31-Joni Wiman, -55.9 seconds
8. 07-Nelson Piquet Jr., -67.2 seconds
9. 14-Austin Dyne, one lap down
10. 77-Scott Speed, one lap down

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).