Tanner takes two
Tanner Foust Rally Car Gold
Chaos is the best word to describe the Rally Car events at X16, which were both dominated by Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan. The Rockstar/Ford teammates took both gold and silver medals, respectively in the Rally Car Racing and Super Rally events.
The Racing final came down to Foust and Deegan but the anticipated battle was a bust when Deegan made a wrong turn early in the run and was disqualified. Andrew Comrie-Picard and Antoine L'Estage were each awarded a bronze medal. The entire event was marred with red flags as the drivers struggled to get through the races without either destroying their cars or going off course. With the sun setting and plumes of dust filling the air, drivers noted the most challenging parts of the course were the drops back into the stadium because they couldn't see where they were going. The other favorites, Travis Pastrana, Ken Block and Kenny Brack all suffered car damage and couldn't finish.
"I didn't know how hard it was going to be to memorize the track," Foust said. "I think the best thing for me was qualifying first because I got to pick the lane I wanted every time. I memorized one lane. It sounds like all these racecar drivers have like six brain cells to rub together but I'm telling you, with the chaos that goes on inside these cars it's absolutely brutal to drive them with blind crests," Foust said. "Every single time we went down the peristyles we had an obstacle we would aim for off in the distance because we couldn't see the track."
For Deegan, whose been dabbling in a variety of racing lately and has faced questions about whether or not he's a serious rally driver, his performance served notice to the field. "I don't think I could have lucked out four times in a row and got to the Final," he said. "All my driving came together -- the truck racing, car racing, the skills kicked in today when it counted."
The debut of SuperRally was tough on the cars from the very first seeding laps. The Subaru family in particular was stretched thin, with Travis Pastrana and Sverre Isachsen cars needing new engines and Dave Mirra's requiring a new rear differential. Race organizers ran the heat races out of order in an effort to give Pastrana's crew more time, but they failed to get the car ready and alternate Carl Decker filled the slot.
As the heats got underway, the big names continued to struggle with car trouble and Kenny Brack, Ken Block, and Isachsen all dropped out early. The Final was a three-way battle between Foust, Deegan, and Verdier. Deegan got the jump off the line but Foust had the inside into turn one and forced his position to make the pass into second. When Verdier took his "joker lap" (the mandatory jump lap each driver must take once in the Final), Deegan moved back into second but didn't have time to catch Foust.
There was some on-air confusion when the lap count on television didn't match the live race. When Foust drove Deegan wide in the first corner, the timing line was missed and the graphics weren't triggered to start until the second lap so the broadcast graphics were always a lap behind. The checkered flag, however, was spot on.
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