|ESPN.com: 2011||[Print without images]|
Marcus Grönholm dominated his rivals through every race to win the final round of the Global RallyCross Championship, dubbed "Last Chance," and an invite to X Games 17. Despite winning each heat, Grönholm struggled with his starts, a problem that cost him the win in yesterday's Super Rally event. However, when it counted most today, the Finnish driver got off the line the fastest and held the lead throughout.
"I am very happy for the win," said Grönholm at the podium. "I got the launch right and had a good start. Then I was in front and just focused on my driving"
Subaru USA driver David Higgins crossed the finish line after Grönholm, taking second place.
"It was a really crazy race. I had a full 360 degree spin, but got the car straight, and kept going. I stayed on it, drove through a barrel, and then I had to hold back as the car was starting to overheat," said Higgins.
Stephan Verdier followed Higgins across the line for third place.
"It's a miracle finish, but I'll take it," said Verdier, who competes as a privateer, without the backing of a manufacturer's team. "I made a mistake and completely overshot the first corner, and then had to pass Rhys [Millen] and start to work my way up."
Eight cars took to the start line to compete on the tight and sometimes dusty track. A crash just coming into the finish between Tanner Foust and Michael Jernberg put both drivers out of contention just a few feet from the finish line.
"This was kind of a mess. I got stuck in the dust and almost spun at one point," said Foust. "I saw Jernberg as we were coming back to the merge, and I went for it. So did he and we hit and I went off the course, over the concrete wall. It was a big bounce."
Foust's car dropped about three feet off the side of the track, landing on all four wheels.
|Marcus Grönholm got out front early and stayed there the rest of the race.|
In the 2WD class, Michael Eriksson won in his Porsche 911. Though he was frustrated with the level of grip from his tires, he still maintained a lead.
"The race was ok. I would have liked a more comfortable lead, but it is a good result," said the Swede.
Second place went to Andrew Sutherland, who had a close battle with Dillon Van Way for most of the final race.
"I had Van Way right on my bumper for most of that race, it was so close," said Sutherland. "I was pushing flat out and was taking some pretty big hits in the rougher portion of the course. I think the motor may be blown, but it's a great result."
Van Way had been gunning for a strong result here, hoping to secure an invite to the X Games by finishing atop the 2WD standings, but had a problem in the final race, finishing third.
"We needed to do well here, but I'm not sure this was well enough," said Van Way. "We had some great racing with Eriksson and Sutherland, but in the hairpin on the last race, I pulled the handbrake and the latch caught, and I had to get it unstuck."
Testing his abilities in rallycross for the first time was FMX athlete Robbie Maddison. Maddison competed in an underpowered production class 2WD car.
Tanner Foust has not yet clinched the Global RallyCross Championship. Instead, that decision will be made on the streets of Los Angeles during competition at X Games 17. Already invited drivers include Foust, Grönholm, Brian Deegan, Dave Mirra, Rhys Millen and Travis Pastrana.
Five additional drivers have qualified for an X Games invite, including Verdier and Joseph Burke, who have both competed at X Games before. Jernberg, Jimmy Keeney have also qualified. As the top points earner in 2WD, Van Way has qualified, but will need to find an all wheel drive car to use for X Games.
|1||3||Marcus Gronholm||2011 Ford Fiesta|
|2||75||David Higgins||2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STi|
|3||12||Stephan Verdier||2009 Subaru STi|
|4||67||Rhys Millen||2012 Hyundai Velostar|
|5||38||Brian Deegan||2011 Ford Focus|
|6||116||Nate Conley||2004 Subaru Impreza|
|7||34||Tanner Foust||2011 Ford Focus|
|8||4||Michael Jernberg||2008 Skoda Fabia|
|1||120||Michael Eriksson||2005 Porsche 911|
|2||55||Andrew Sutherland||1995 Honda Civic|
|3||600||Dillon Van Way||2002 Ford Focus|
|4||649||Lauchlin O'Sullivan||1987 Toyota FX-16|
|5||137||Eric Vlasic||1989 Nissan 240SX|
|6||499||Victor Fagan||1988 Toyota Celica GT|