Red Bull GRC: Piquet’s title bid ends with failure to start Vegas LCQ

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Nelson Piquet Jr. will not win the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship in his first full season in the series.

Piquet, who was fourth in the standings, suffered a gearbox problem in the second semifinal of tonight’s season finale in Las Vegas and came to a stop off-course early on.

The subsequent seventh-place finish set up Piquet for a trip to the Last Chance Qualifier, where he would’ve had to finish in the Top 4 to advance to the final.

But while his SH Rallycross team worked to repair the gearbox on his No. 07 Ford Fiesta ST, Piquet did not make the start of the LCQ and his bid to win the title ended.

Despite the crushing end to his season, Piquet kept things in perspective.

“We led most of the championship and as a rookie team, as a rookie driver, we never expected that,” he said during tonight’s live-stream broadcast from Vegas. “…It’s been a tough year. We learned a lot and as rookies, we made a lot of mistakes that we’re not gonna repeat next year.

“I don’t have anything guaranteed for next year, whether it’s going to be here or not. But if we stick together next year with this great team, [I’d be] really looking forward to it because I love the series, I love [team owner James] “Sulli” [Sullivan] – great sponsors to deal with. It couldn’t be better.”

Points leader Joni Wiman, second-place Ken Block (-10 points behind Wiman), and third-place Scott Speed (-27 points behind Wiman) will settle the fight for this year’s GRC championship in tonight’s final, which goes off at 10:35 p.m. ET.

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.”