Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross staked an early claim on the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross championship at the opening doubleheader in Phoenix, earning two race wins and a second-place finish. Staying on top of the podium will require many hours of hard work—an effort that begins again this weekend in Dallas.
Beyond victories in both Finals, the VARX team achieved the unprecedented success of winning every Heat and Semifinal race of the weekend and setting the quickest time in each of the event’s two qualifying sessions. Despite the perfect results, the team will look to minimize some of the mechanical gremlins that made their Phoenix success anything but straightforward.
With less than an hour before the start of Sunday’s Semifinal, the crew had to replace the transmission of Tanner Foust’s No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle GRC race car—a task that usually takes closer to 80 minutes for a professional race team. The service was completed without a moment to spare, allowing Foust to take victory in the Semifinal, setting up a pole position starting spot for the Final race later in the day.
“While it’s nice to know what our crew’s capable of,” said Foust, “we don’t want to have to go through that sort of epic thrash more than once! It’s nice that our weekend looked straightforward from the outside, but we want to have a bit more of a relaxed pace in Dallas.”
For his part, Scott Speed is confident in the package the VARX team put together in the offseason and hopes that more luck will help him to enjoy the same sort of weekend Foust managed in Phoenix.
“With a relatively smooth weekend, Tanner really showed the field what we had,” said the reigning Global Rallycross champion after his podium finish on Sunday. “These results validate the work we have put in during the offseason, and I think you’ll be seeing more of us in the top spots throughout the course of the season.” Both team and drivers recognize that their competitors will also be hard at work to gain a competitive advantage. Foust refuses to count out the other contenders even after his dominating performance in Phoenix.
“It’s no question that we had two of the quickest cars in Phoenix, but Dallas is a different track and another new venue for the series so we can’t be certain of what to expect. The track is shorter and tighter than what we just raced on, and while we do as much preparation as possible, it’s impossible to know where we stand until we’re out on track setting lap times.
“We put ourselves in the best position possible, winning maximum points in Phoenix,” he said, “and now it’s all about maintaining that effort right through to the final race of the season.”