The first day of America’s first World Rallycross stop has adjourned with a Swede in the lead. No. 11, Petter Solberg with his VW Polo R was able to grab Q1 today with his fastest qualifying time of 2:23.187. He is currently three seconds faster than his fellow countryman, No. 5 Mattias Eskström with a 2.26.307.
For the Americas Rallycross (ARX), No. 34 Tanner Foust kept the Volkswagens across the checkered flag with a fastest qualifying time of 2:27.014 on his second run, followed closely by Steve Arpin running the No. 11 Ford Focus RS RX with 2:28.149.
Lastly, ARX2 finished the final race with No. 4, Alex Keyes of Robbie Buhl, taking the win with a total time of 4:14.017, followed by No. 21, Conner Martell of DirtFish, with 4:18.692.
As for the track, it’s hard to call it a WRX circuit. Built between turns 12-15 at the Circuit of the Americas, the short track left spectators scratching heads as to where the dirt went between later qualifying laps; quick passes and sticky tires quickly revealed the tarmac below the light dusting of façade dropped for the event.
However, it is hard to fault WRX or COTA for this; previous modifications and work on the tarmac has brought quite a few negative reviews during MotoGP earlier this year when gravel and dust were thrown into riders’ helmets during laps. And with F1 in a few weeks, modifications beyond the slightly modified barriers and layer of dirt could have brought some attention from Dorna.
The highlight and the disappointment of the track was the jump; it appears to be a permanent part of COTA near Turn 15; a large dirt/concrete berm was built up at least one year prior, and was resurfaced for WRX. However, it was hugged tightly with two 90-degree turns, thereby limiting the speed and height of the jump. While a few courageous drivers were able to peak the hill with some serious air, it left a lust for some additional technical challenges for the drivers.