GRC: Los Angeles preview

2016-10-08 17:07:47
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For the first time in series history, Red Bull Global Rallycross will crown a champion at the end of a double-header event. The Port of Los Angeles, one of the series' most iconic host venues, will set the stage for an exciting Supercar finale.

LAST RACE: Tanner Foust broke one winning streak and kept another alive last month at Evergreen Speedway, as Red Bull GRC returned to the Seattle market. He ended teammate Scott Speed's three-race winning streak with the victory, but also gave Volkswagen its fourth win in a row and seventh of the year – clinching the brand its first manufacturer's championship.

DRIVER CHANGES: Three drivers will make their Supercar debuts this weekend in Los Angeles. Toshihiro Arai, a multi-time PWRC champion, will trade stage rally for rallycross as he joins Subaru Rally Team USA as the series' first-ever Japanese driver. Meanwhile, two drivers will graduate from GRC Lites this weekend: Tanner Whitten will fill in for Nelson Piquet Jr. at SH Rallycross/DRR, and Mitchell DeJong makes his debut with Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE.

"I'm really excited being able to finally make my first Supercar start," DeJong said. "This is kind of a home race for me, there's nice weather, and I have a lot of friends and family coming out, so it'll be a nice hometown crowd. It'll be nice to finally race a Supercar – it's been a long time, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm just going to take it as a learning experience, do the best I can, not put too much pressure on myself, and see what we can do with it."

THE TRACK: The Port of Los Angeles serves as the shortest track of the 2016 Red Bull GRC season at .699 miles, but drivers will have plenty of passing opportunities in the dirt, tight corners, and the Honda Joker Lap. Click here for more information on the track.

FoustFIVE DRIVERS ELIGIBLE FOR SUPERCAR TITLE IN L.A.: Volkswagen may have locked up the Red Bull GRC Manufacturer's Championship, but Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross teammates Tanner Foust (pictured,465 points) and Scott Speed (452) are only two of the drivers who remain mathematically eligible for the Driver's Championship. Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Steve Arpin (399) and Brian Deegan (373), as well as Bryan Herta Rallysport's Patrik Sandell (357), also have a shot at the crown.

“The track with be very narrow and tight," Sandell said. "The space is very limited, so qualifying will be super important. If we can work well before qualifying and then have good launches, that’s kind of 70 percent of the race. Everyone is so fast and within tenths of each other. If we can just get ahead in the start, it’s easier to keep that position, rather than passing.”

LITES LADDER SYSTEM PRODUCES SUPERCAR NEWCOMERS: Tanner Whitten and DeJong will make their long-awaited Supercar debuts this weekend after accomplishing numerous successes in GRC Lites. Whitten, who earned a victory in the second Daytona final this June, becomes the first Lites race winner to earn an in-season promotion to a Supercar with SH Rallycross/DRR.

“This is extremely special," Whitten said. "It’s one of the moments that I’ve been looking forward to and praying about. I’ve been working for it ever since I had the opportunity to drive the Lites car back in 2012. It’s been great to have the opportunity it’s the last event of the year and it’s been a big deal for the last couple days to get this program put together. I’m really excited for the finale in L.A.”

DeJong, the 2014 class champion and single-season Lites record holder for victories (seven) and heat wins (15), rejoins Olsbergs MSE in a third Honda Civic Coupe.

RED BULL GRC SUPPORTS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH: Red Bull Global Rallycross is proud to support key Breast Cancer Awareness Month initiatives this weekend in Los Angeles. Susan G. Komen Foundation representatives will be on site at the Port of Los Angeles to educate and bring attention to the initiative, as well as accepting donations. This weekend's course will also feature pink and white stripes on the infield to promote awareness.

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