Sandell secures his, Herta’s first Red Bull GRC win of year in Detroit race two

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If speed was the only thing required to win Red Bull Global Rallycross races, Patrik Sandell would have had one by now in 2015.

But with luck having sabotaged most of his season, it took until Sunday for the second of two races in Detroit and Round 6 on the season for the driver of the No. 18 Bryan Herta RallySport Kobalt Tools Ford Fiesta ST to finally win one.

The Swede was afforded a reprieve after being caught up in a four-car, first-lap pileup off the first start of the race on Belle Isle Park before going into the Kobalt Tools Joker.

Sandell and Scott Speed, in the No. 41 Kinetic Vision Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Volkswagen Beetle, were side-by-side, with Speed coming down on Sandell as he sought to make the Joker around the fountain section of the course.

The contact knocked Sandell into Ken Block, in the No. 43 Monster Energy Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST, and Block into Speed’s VARX teammate Tanner Foust in the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Volkswagen Beetle.

Foust incurred the worst damage from the accident and was out on the spot; meanwhile, Block was issued a penalty for rough driving by series officials and sent to the back of the grid for the restart.

The 10-lap final was uneventful from there and Sandell, whose car wasn’t significantly damaged from the Speed contact, led Speed as both completed the Joker cleanly on the second attempt.

Sandell pulled away en route to his first win of the year, with Speed coming second for the second straight race.

“Yeah finally!” an excited Sandell told NBC’s Will Christien. “The team has been working so hard. I’m so happy for Bryan Herta RallySport. We’ve been fast all year but a lot of bad luck. Now we won and we really showed where we want to be here.”

A less than pleased Block, who unofficially saw his championship lead shrink from 45 points to 26, did not agree with the penalty call. He was resigned to a seventh place finish after banking a second, first and first in the previous three finals.

“I got hit, that’s all that happened. Thanks, officials,” Block told NBC’s Kristen Kenney with a peace sign and a quick walk-off back into his motor coach.

Olsbergs MSE teammates Sebastian Eriksson and Joni Wiman were third and fourth, Wiman equaling his best finish of the season, with Brian Deegan completing the top five for Chip Ganassi Racing. Deegan was the only CGR car to make the final after Steve Arpin had a crash in the Last Chance Qualifier.

Round 7 of the season from Washington D.C. is next up, and will air live at 3 p.m. ET on NBC on Sunday, August 15.

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).