Driver rolled his Volkswagen while fighting for the lead
It was a hard-fought race for Rockstar Energy Drink driver Tanner Foust this weekend at X Games in Austin, the second round of the Global Rallycross Championship.
The four-time gold medalist, who has earned more X Games rally medals than any other competitor, was favored for a return to the podium in Austin. But, he rolled his Volkswagen while battling into the lead and found himself out of contention.
"Once again, I'm super impressed by how the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team has prepared our team cars," said Foust, who opened two days of competition at X Games with a pair of heat wins to line up on the front row for the Quarterfinal round. "Our Volkswagen Polos are the two best cars on the track."
A characteristically strong starter, Foust launched off the line in the Quarterfinal to fight into the all-important first corner. But, while battling through traffic over the bumpy transition from tarmac to dirt, he found himself sideways and sliding into the trackside gravel. While he nearly recovered from the spin, a wheel caught and his car rolled onto its roof. Foust was unharmed, but his race day was over.
"I tried to keep it on the track but when I got into the soft gravel, the car started a slow roll and that was it," said Foust. "The car's fine, but I'm gutted."
The dirt corner that ended Foust's race was the scene of many incidents over two rough days of racing at X Games. With few passing opportunities on the narrow course, the pressure was on for drivers to earn the holeshot every time they took the start.
"The nature of the format means there's an air of desperation at the start line." said Foust. "Every heat felt like a Final, and the carnage on the course showed that."
It was the first time that Foust has missed an X Games rallycross Final in his career. The driver, who made his first X Games appearance in 2006, was one of several medal favorites knocked out of contention early in Austin. Fellow X Games veterans Travis Pastrana and Ken Block both joined Foust on the sidelines for the Final.
In the two rounds since the team's debut, the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross cars have proven that they are contenders. Foust and teammate Scott Speed are consistently among the fastest drivers on the course. Speed took the win this weekend in Austin.
"Congratulations to Scott on a great weekend," said Foust. "Our cars are amazing and the other teams are on notice: the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team is going to be tough to beat all season."
Foust will next return to rallycross competition in the Global Rallycross Championship round in Washington, D.C. June 21-22. The two-time Global Rallycross champion said he is ready for a return to the podium. "I'm going to chase this championship down," said Foust.
Rallycross is a blend of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition. It promises intense crowd-pleasing action in a fan-friendly track environment. As many as 10 drivers line up to start at once, piloting high-horsepower compact cars through race traffic over a challenging short course that features jumps, unbanked turns, hills and transitions between pavement and gravel.