Red Bull GRC: Foust, Eriksson win doubleheader in Daytona

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Tanner Foust (Saturday, Round 2) and Sebastian Eriksson (Sunday, Round 3) have split the wins in the Supercars finals in the Red Bull Global Rallycross doubleheader in Daytona.

ROUND 2

Foust, in the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Volkswagen Beetle for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, fought through missing heat races and a mechanical to survive in the final itself on Saturday.

Foust took the lead on Saturday after a collision between Round 1 winner Ken Block and Patrik Sandell, the two front row starters. Austin Dyne of Bryan Herta Rallysport and Eriksson of Olsbergs MSE finished second and third.

“Once I came into the second corner of the first lap, there was mayhem and a few crashes around us,” Foust said post-race.

“A couple of cars in front of me collided and I ended up just sneaking through, I literally just went to the open track and drove away. There was a little bit of damage to the Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle, but it’s strong and it held together for the win. It’s awesome for the whole Volkswagen Andretti team after such a hectic day.”

But in Foust’s semifinal on Sunday, the crew had to work to repair the car once more. The right front suspension appeared to collapse following contact between Foust and Eriksson in the seminal.

“I was trying to give Eriksson room, he led into the first corner, and we both needed a clean lap so they couldn’t catch up on the second lap,” Foust told NBC’s Kristen Kenney. “He went so tight on the hairpin… I didn’t want to be that close to him. I clipped him on the inside. I think we broke the control arm.”

Despite the contact, Foust made it into the final after all after finishing second in the last chance qualifier.

ROUND 3

Eriksson was able to get a launch from the start of Sunday’s Round 3, while the action was occurring behind him.

Nelson Piquet Jr. made a great launch from 10th up to fourth, while Sandell pulled off on the first lap; meanwhile Jeff Ward collected Scott Speed a little later in the race.

Eriksson led from Round 1 winner Ken Block up front, while the battle was firmly for third and the final podium position.

Joni Wiman, Eriksson’s OMSE teammate, briefly held the spot with two laps to go before he contacted the concrete barrier with two laps to go, as he was engaged in a battle with Foust and Steve Arpin for the final podium position.

Arpin then fell back and into the clutches of Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Ward, in his weekend debut in Red Bull GRC, before contact occurred between the two on the final lap. Ward was dropped a position post-race, per the series, for rough driving.

It mattered not to Eriksson, who completed a double podium on the weekend, made it an OMSE Sunday sweep with Austin Cindric winning again in GRC Lites, and moved into the points lead.

“It has been a good day all day,” Eriksson told Kenney. “Had a great start in the finals. Took it safe in the first lap. After that I drove my own race and that was enough. Still nine races to go, but it’s good to be a few points ahead more than a few points down.”

Block finished second ahead of Arpin, with Ward dropped to fourth and Foust fifth.

“Man it was awesome to have [Ward] out here. I really enjoyed it,” Block told Kenney. “That final was nuts. I was getting knocked all around. It was fun. Congrats to Eriksson. It was a battle.”

Despite losing the position, Ward enjoyed his maiden weekend in Red Bull GRC.

“I just came here to learn. I knew with 360fly and Chip Ganassi Racing we’d have a quality car,” Ward told Kenney.” I knew I could drive, but I just knew I had to not make mistakes. Super cool to run with Scott, Ken and Tanner Foust.”

Red Bull GRC is off until Sunday, July 5, for a race at MCAS New River. It will air live at 5 p.m. ET on NBC.

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).