Red Bull GRC: Championship contenders Wiman, Block, Speed advance to Vegas final

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Three of the four Red Bull Global Rallycross title contenders did what they had to do in the semifinals of tonight’s season finale at The LINQ in Las Vegas.

Scott Speed (third, -27 points) finished second in the first semifinal behind Bucky Lasek to advance to the final, while Ken Block (second, -10 points) and points leader Joni Wiman did the same by finishing first and second respectively in the other semi.

But Nelson Piquet Jr. (fourth, -30 points) was forced to bow out of his semi after just one lap due to a reported gearbox problem on his Ford Fiesta ST. As a result, he will have to advance to the final out of the Last Chance Qualifier.

SEMIFINAL ONE

A pair of heat wins allowed Speed to move up to third in the standings prior to Semifinal One. Driving his new VW Beetle, Speed assumed the early lead but on the fourth of six laps, Lasek took the lead from the former NASCAR/F1 pilot coming out of the dirt jump. He then held off Speed the rest of the way.

Lasek pulled off the win despite being involved in a first-lap incident that had him make contact with Rhys Millen. Tanner Foust also sustained damage in the sequence of events and subsequently retired early. Steve Arpin – who was brought to a full stop by the melee but got going again – rallied to capture third place and the last transfer to the final.

SEMIFINAL TWO

Then came the second semi, which featured the other three drivers involved in the championship fight – Block, Wiman, and Piquet. But while Block and Wiman quickly shot to the front, Piquet was unable to launch off the start with the rest of the field.

After a few moments, Piquet finally got going but ultimately came to a stop off-course. Meanwhile, Block and Wiman pulled away and finished 1-2, with Patrik Sandell finishing third to join them in the final.

That sets up tonight’s LCQ at 9:20 p.m. ET. The Top 4 finishers there will go to the final at 10:35 p.m. ET.

REMINDER: Tonight’s GRC season finale will be broadcast Sunday, Nov. 16 at 1:30 p.m. ET on your local NBC station. The broadcast will also be streamed online and on mobile devices through NBC Sports Live Extra.

Dan Ticktum wins crash-marred FIA F3 World Cup in Macau

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Overshadowed by a horrific crash involving Sophia Floersch was the fact that 19-year-old Dan Ticktum dominated and won the Macau Grand Prix – a victory that puts him closer to earning the superlicence required to allow him to race with Formula 1, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Ticktum won Macau’s qualification race as well as the Grand Prix, starting first in both events. For his victories, he earned 10 points, which combined with 25 for his runner-up finish in the European F3 Championship leaves him just five below the 40 needed for the license.

This was Ticktum’s second Macau Grand Prix victory.

“It was a dominant performance that I was preparing for,” Ticktum said on his web site. “I don’t think I’ve ever prepared as hard as I did for this race and it all worked out. In the final race a lot of variables were thrown at me but I handled them.”

On his way to victory lane, Ticktum had to survive several restarts including the lengthy red flag period following Floersch’s accident to repair the barrier.

“I can’t count how many safety car restarts we had to do,” Ticktum said. “It puts a lot of pressure on a driver here with such a long run down to the first corner. I can’t remember a weekend when I’ve put it all together so well.

“The car was absolutely perfect all weekend, it was so good and I can’t thank Motopark enough for that. I’ve never been so involved in the set-up, felt so at one with the car as I did this weekend.”