The fourth round of the 2014 Red Bull Global RallyCross season took place in Uniondale, New York just outside of the Nassau Veterans Museum last Sunday for the first time. The Big Apple addition of Volkswagen Rallycross got the series one round away from the halfway point of the season. The championship was very tight coming into the weekend with Scott Speed leading Nelson Piquet Jr. by one point. Also entering the round, Two time champ Tanner Foust has gone winless in what has been a struggling season.
The newly designed six-turn rally course was first contested in practice sessions Saturday and qualifying sessions led by Piquet. The first heat called “Heat A” featured Piquet, Ken Block, Bucky Lasek, Steve Arpin, Joni Wiman, and Austin Dyne. On the first standing start of the day, Ken Block took an early jump over Nelson Piquet. Not too long after, Bucky Lasek in his No. 81 machine stalled in turn one bringing out a red flag. On the restart, Piquet took the lead from Block and he would go on to win “Heat A” over Block and Arpin, who also advanced.
“Heat B” had Saturday heat winner Tanner Foust alongside teammate Scott Speed and last race’s winner Patrik Sandell. The back row featured Sverre Isachsen, Rhys Millen and Emma Gilmour. The start was a good one for Tanner Foust, but Scott Speed did not fare so well. Speed immediately fell to last place with a poor start while Foust quickly checked out on the field. Isachsen took a comfortable second while the final transfer spot to the final was hotly contested between Rhys Millen and Scott Speed. With two laps to go, Speed worked his way passed Millen for that transfer spot. Foust, Isachsen and Speed advanced from that heat B.
The last chance qualifier round was made up of those who failed to get transfer spots in their heats (top-3 finishes). They included Joni Wiman, Rhys Millen, Austin Dyne, Patrik Sandell, Bucky Lasek and Emma Gilmour. On the start, everyone got a good jump except Millen, who fell behind the field. Wiman took the top spot ahead of Dyne. Emma Gilmour got a good start fighting with the top guys despite heavy contact in the the turn with Dyne. She fought hard with her teammate Millen for third. Millen and Sandell got by Gilmour in the final laps. Wiman, Dyne, Millen, and Sandell advance to the final while Emma Gilmour and Bucky Lasek fail to qualify.
For the final round main event in New York, Piquet, Foust and Isachsen made up the front row with Block, Speed, and Arpin in row two. The third row had Wiman, Dyne and Sandell, with Milen completing the field of ten. The ten lap race began with Isachsen getting the lead off the lights while Foust had a slow start, falling to third behind Piquet.
Some four wide racing behind the leaders led to Block getting turned around. In the next turn, Aprin got shoved into the wall. Foust got around Piquet just before the red flag came out for all the carnage.
Arpin could not get his car re-fired after the hit he suffered with Speed. While coming to the red flag, Sandell crashed in a stack up getting around Arpin’s parked car. Sandell was out after winning last time out in DC. On the restart, Isachsen was determined to keep his lead but was too aggressive blocking Foust and Piquet. He turned down in front of them without being clear, spinning himself out.
The final restart saw Foust take the lead. Block worked his way back to second over Piquet, who would lose the position as Piquet took the joker. As Block struggled with his all-wheel drive steering, he’d relegate the third spot to Scott Speed.
Now with Foust far ahead with the lead, Piquet and Speed went head-to-head for second. Foust would go on to win his first race of the 2014 season, while Speed took second away from rival title contender Piquet.
The final round results of the Volkswagen RallyCross New York wee Foust, Speed, Piquet, Block, and Wiman completing the top-five, while Arpin, Dyne, Millen, Isachsen, and Sandell round out the field.
After four of 10 races, Scott Speed holds a five point lead over Nelson Piquet. The next race will be this weekend from Charlotte!