Scott Speed took his second consecutive win, and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross (VARX) earned its fourth double-podium finish of the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross season on Saturday in Washington, D.C.. Speed’s impressive victory capped off a perfect weekend in which the American set the fastest time in qualifying and followed up the feat with a trio of Heat and Semifinal wins.
VARX teammate, Tanner Foust, claimed a third-place finish, earned in a hard-fought race that culminated in a last-lap pass allowing the two-time champion to reach the podium. The exemplary result is further evidence of the strength of the VARX team and its formidable combination of drivers, crew, and machinery.
Speed took control of the weekend in Friday’s qualifying session and never looked back, earning flag-to-flag victories in each subsequent session. Not once did the No. 41 Special Operations Warrior Foundation Beetle GRC relinquish the lead, and Saturday’s Final took on a similar tone. Speed managed an expert start to get the all-important holeshot and sailed away from the field, maintaining a healthy gap to second place until the checkered flag.
The reigning champion reveled in his trouble-free weekend, glad to avoid the gremlins which had plagued his efforts since the beginning of the season. “We finally had a really clean weekend and could show our full capabilities,” said the happy driver after the race. “We always knew we were quick, but sometimes didn’t have the chance to prove it, so this is a nice change.”
Foust also had a strong showing throughout the weekend, earning maximum points for his Heat and Semifinal wins, but his starting position in the Final hampered a run at the victory his teammate captured. By virtue of Foust’s fourth quickest time in qualifying, he started Saturday’s Final in the middle of the front row, next to his teammate.
On the dirtier side of the track and in an unfavorable position for the course’s first turn, the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle GRC lost position at the start, forcing Foust into fourth position by the completion of the first lap.
The VW driver battled back, hounding Brian Deegan lap after lap for third position. Midway through the race, Foust hit standing water during an attempted overtake and spun the car. Miraculously, he kept going to hold on to his fourth-place position. The Beetle GRC quickly clawed back the gap and made it to Deegan’s bumper in time for the last lap, where Foust managed to sneak through the inside of the dirt section to claim the position and the final spot on the podium.
“Honestly, third place feels like a win today,” said Foust after accepting his trophy. “This is a scary track when you’re running by yourself, but right behind another car, blinded with mud is a whole different story.”
Speed’s victory moves him to second in the provisional points standings, just behind his teammate. Volkswagen extends its lead in the Manufacturer’s Championship and adds to its tally of five wins from seven races this season.
Winning in Washington, D.C. holds special significance for Volkswagen, whose corporate headquarters are a short distance away in Herndon, VA. VW employees were able to cheer on their cars from the bleachers instead of couches this weekend.
Scott Speed also noted the importance of winning in the Nation’s Capital with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation colors on his car, earning his second win in a row while representing the important charity.
“I’m so proud to be representing SOWF this weekend. They’ve been good luck for us these past two events, and I’m glad to bring some awareness to the great work they do.”
Red Bull Global Rallycross will return to action next month, at the series’ inaugural event in Atlantic City, NJ. Live coverage will be held on NBC, Sunday, August 28 at 3:ooPM (EST).