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.