Global Rallycross Championship - Foust Fastest At New Hampshire
LOUDON, Jul. 14, 2012: Tanner Foust set fast time in the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) qualifying session Friday night at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon followed closely by Ken Block and Travis Pastrana.
Foust drove a lap of 39.203 seconds around the nearly 1-mile layout that includes a 70-foot gap jump and a table-top jump to put his No. 34 Rockstar Energy Etnies Ford Fiesta atop the time sheet for the SilverStar zXe GRC event.By being quickest in qualifying, Foust earned lane choice for his heat race tonight, where all the cars in the heat will start side-by-side. Heats consists of three, four-lap races, and the first driver to complete all four laps, including the “Joker” lap – a longcut from the regular course that can only be used once and is a key component of race strategy – is declared the winner and earns one championship bonus point.
“It was really kind of a fun lap,” said Foust, GRC championship point leader and host of History Channel’s Top Gear. “I took it fairly easy on the jump, gave myself plenty of time to get the speed down for tonight. Maybe push a little bit harder in the race. Olsbergs OMSE set up their Rockstar Fiesta so that I could go flat over the tabletop, which a lot of guys couldn’t do without breaking their cars, and that gave me a lot of extra time.”
Three races comprise the heats that will run tonight – Heat A, Heat B and Heat C. Drivers finishing in positions 1-2 of Heats A-C automatically advance to the final, and the winning driver of each heat earns a championship bonus point. The drivers finishing in positions 3-5 in each heat go to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) – a four-lap race where the first four drivers to complete all four laps, including the “Joker”, advance to the final.
Ken Block, driver of the No. 43 Monster World Rally Team Ford Fiesta, qualified second with a time of 39.955 seconds and will start first in Heat B.
“I actually think the course and the layout are really fun,” said Block, whose recent Gymkhana 5 video has been viewed more than 16 million times since being released July 9. “It’s nice having some gravel out there. I ended up having some really good lines that I was happy with that felt really quick in qualifying. But there was a slower car in front of me, so I actually had to slow way down and it kind of threw me off my rhythm because I went out there to kind of attack. I’m here to win. I’m absolutely here to win. I feel really good and I got the silver (medal) at X Games. I have a lot of confidence right now and the car feels really good. I’m ready.”
Travis Pastrana, driver of the No. 199 Red Bull Rallycross Dodge Dart, qualified third with a time of 40.214 seconds and will start first in Heat C.
“The course is absolutely awesome,” said Pastrana, who is pulling double-duty at New Hampshire by competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race before running the SilverStar zXe GRC event. “It’s the most challenging course we’ve had out here at GRC. It is going to be difficult to pass. We were all pushing really, really hard. There are a lot of technical obstacles. On the first lap I broke my car because I went all the way to flat on the jump. I broke the car, but we were able to make it across the finish line with a broken driveshaft and a tire pulled under. We ended up third qualifying even with all of that, but I think we have a good car for the race.”
Foust (USA) will lead Stephan Verdier (France), David Binks (UK) and Sverre Isachsen (Norway) in Heat A.
Block (USA) will lead Brian Deegan (USA), Dave Mirra (USA), Pat Moro (USA) and Andy Scott (UK) in Heat B.
Pastrana (USA) will lead Samuel Hubinette (USA), Liam Doran (UK), Richard Burton (Canada) and Bucky Lasek (USA) in Heat C.
The final can be seen today at 7 p.m. EDT, live on ESPN.