Logos courtesy Red Bull GRC and Polaris

Red Bull GRC: Polaris RZR side-by-side category added

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More unique content will come to Red Bull Global Rallycross in its 2018 season, with a third category added to the headlining Supercars and GRC Lites divisions.

The Polaris RZR side-by-side vehicles will be added as a separate category compared to the more traditional cars of Red Bull GRC. This will give more weekend content on Red Bull GRC weekends.

The series is yet to reveal its full 2018 calendar but traditionally starts anywhere from late April to mid-to-late May. The full release is below.

Red Bull Global Rallycross and Polaris will introduce a new racing series under the Red Bull GRC banner for the 2018 season. The multi-year partnership will bring to the series a brand new racing category with the Polaris RZR® side-by-sides, expanding the existing Red Bull GRC competition landscape that currently includes the Supercar and GRC Lites classes.

“Polaris is the ideal partner for us to work with as we develop this new entry point class for young drivers to enter the sport of rallycross,” said Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne. “They are a high performance, dynamic brand that will bring more racing excitement to our fans, and will further expand our unique presence in the world of racing.”

The side-by-side competition will be the third Red Bull GRC racing category to take to the track in 2018. Joining the flagship Supercar class that launched with the series’ inception in 2011 and the GRC Lites driver development class that debuted in 2013, the side-by-side competition serves as a new and flexible entry point to Red Bull GRC.

“This partnership brings together two thrill-seeking brands synonymous with blazing their own trails,” said Matt Boone, marketing manager for Polaris RZR and GENERAL. “The side-by-side competition is the perfect opportunity to showcase a vehicle that is built for power and precision, and will add a new adrenaline-pumping experience for Red Bull GRC fans.”

More details about the racing vehicles will be made available in January 2018. Prospective race teams and drivers with interest in learning more about the USAC-sanctioned category can contact info@redbullglobalrallycross.com.

Lewis Hamilton takes F1 pole in dramatic Russian GP qualifying

Russian pole Lewis Hamilton
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to equaling the Formula One win record Saturday by clinching pole position at the Russian Grand Prix, after narrowly avoiding early elimination when Sebastian Vettel crashed.

Hamilton charged to a track-record time of 1 minute, 31.304 seconds, beating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen by 0.563 for his fifth straight pole position. Hamilton can achieve his 91st career win in the race on Sunday, matching the record held by Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was beaten into third by Verstappen’s fast run at the end of the session and was .652 off Hamilton’s time.

The long run from the grid to the first significant turn means Bottas could yet threaten to overtake Hamilton at the start Sunday using the slipstream from his teammate’s car.

“It’s nice being on pole but here is probably the worst place to be on pole,” Hamilton said.

“This year you’re seeing that our cars are more draggy and there’s more tow this year than we’ve seen in other years. So I generally expect one of (Verstappen and Bottas) to come flying by at some point. I think I’m just going to focus on my race and run the fastest race I can.”

Bottas earned his first win at the 2017 race in Russia after starting third and overtaking the two Ferraris ahead of him at the start.

Verstappen and Bottas both start the race on medium tires, which could give them an edge in terms of pit strategy over Hamilton, who is on soft tires, which wear much faster.

“I’m just going to have to nurse those tires for as far as I can. These guys, if they get by, they’re going to be pulling away,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen said he was delighted to start second.

“I wasn’t expecting that and of course it’s great for us. If we can get a good start tomorrow you never know what can happen,” he said.

Vettel lost control of his car over the kerb on the inside of the 90-degree, right-hand turn four and spun into the wall, before the Ferrari bounced back onto the track. Teammate Charles Leclerc was following closely behind and narrowly missed the wrecked car, driving over its discarded front wing.

“Oh my God, that was very, very close,” Leclerc told his team over the radio. Leclerc qualified 11th and Vettel 15th as Ferrari failed to reach the top-10 shootout with either car for the third time in four races.

Vettel’s crash meant the red flag was waved while Hamilton was trying to set his first valid lap time to make the third session – after his first attempt was earlier ruled out for going off the track.

After the track was cleared and the session restarted, Hamilton had to rush his out-lap to make it over the line in time for another flying lap with just a second to spare.

“It was horrible,” Hamilton said. “Heart in the mouth.”

Hamilton was also asked to report to race stewards over another incident in which he went off the track in the first part of qualifying. No further action was taken. It was found Hamilton didn’t gain an advantage because the lap time wasn’t counted.

Hamilton is the runaway championship leader with a 55-point advantage over second-place Bottas and 80 over Verstappen. If he can earn four more pole positions in the last seven races, he would be the first driver to 100 in F1 history.

Earlier in the third and final practice Saturday morning, Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 33.279 seconds that was 0.776 better than his Mercedes teammate Bottas, who had been quickest in the first two sessions.