Too-dusty tracks limits field to one qualifying session.
AUSTIN, Texas -- For Friday's practice and qualifying for Saturday's Red Bull Global Rallycross X Games race Saturday at Circuit of the Americas, the huge grandstand by the track was almost empty, with good reason: While the track itself is just 30 percent dirt, 70 percent tarmac, the dust was so bad that it blew into the grandstands and coated everything in its path.
There is typically a second qualifying session with the fastest drivers, but the series called a halt to qualifying after one session. "Visibility was terrible," said Bucky Lasek, who qualified his Subaru for the GRC immediately after competing in the skateboard event. "I'd take the jump and couldn't see the other side."
Hopefully there will be work done on the track tonight, possibily watering it and adding calcium chloride, which helps the dirt hold moisture, so the race Saturday will be less dusty.
While this is a non-points race -- it did pay points last year -- there's a solid field of cars. As in the season opener in Ft. Lauderdale, where track conditions were also less than perfect, the Andretti team of Scott Speed and Tanner Foust (in photo from Fort Lauderdale race) paced the field. The pair is running brand-new VW Beetle-based cars this season, after making do last year with hand-me-down cars from Europe. Third was Patrick Sandell, in the Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta. Herta has two cars in the race, as does Chip Ganassi. Ken Block, who won in Fort Lauderdale, qualified his Hoonigan Ford in seventh.
'Nice and flowing'
“All the corners here are real nice and flowing,” Speed said after qualifying. “I think you can make passes—but hopefully we won’t need to. I’d rather be pole than second, third, or fourth anyday. It’s certainly a big step forward for the gold, and it gives us more of our destiny in our own hands."
A wild card, though, is the return of Travis Pastrana, who is joining the Subaru team for several races, running last year's car. Though he only qualified in 11th, expect him to move through the field quickly.
1.Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle, 35.188 seconds
2.Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle, 35.357
3.Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST, 35.453
4.Andreas Bakkerud, #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST, 35.533
5.Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST, 35.739
6.Joni Wiman, #31 Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST, 35.886
7.Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST. 35.979
8.Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI, 35.993
9.Steve Arpin, #00 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST, 36.081
10.Liam Doran, #33 SDRX Citroen DS3, 36.189
11.Travis Pastrana, #199 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI, 36.297
12.Brian Deegan, #38 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST, 36.323
13.Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI, 36.537
14.Austin Dyne, #14 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST, 36.609
15.Pat Moro, #59 PMR Motorsports Chevrolet Sonic, 37.850
Red Bull Global Rallycross at X Games Austin will be shown on Saturday, June 6 at 2PM ET on ABC.