Any trip to Texas in September is expected to be a scorcher. But that’s what Americas Rallycross and the new World Rallycross got when they came to Circuit of The Americas this weekend. Still, 18,000 fans braved the heat and patches of rain for one hell of a show, and what we hope will be a strong start to years of quality dirt-filled racing in Austin.
(Full Disclosure: The fine folks at Volkswagen had me as their guest over the weekend, putting me up in one seriously cool hotel in downtown Austin, providing me VIP hospitality passes at the track, feeding me a few great meals, and picking up a couple bar tabs while celebrating their successful rallycross participation.)
For Americas and World Rallycross competitors alike, championships were on the line in Austin. Johan Kristoffersson was in prime position to lock up his second WRX championship, Scott Speed was poised to take the inaugural ARX crown, and Conner Martell was set up nicely to take the single-make ARX2 title.
Kristoffersson banged up his PSRX Volkswagen Sweden teammate—and two-time champion Petter Solberg—in the penultimate lap of the WRX final to clinch his title.
To celebrate, Kristoffersson smoked the meats of his VW Polo R for half the cool down lap, much to the delight of the fans. Solberg would finish the final race in second place, just ahead of EKS Audi Sport’s Mattias Ekstrom in his Audi S1.
Lots of cool European rides in Texas these weekend, even if they were racing cars.
Tanner Foust and fellow Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross teammate Speed piloted their VW Beetles to snag the top two spots in the ARX final, with Loenbro Hoonigan team’s Steve Arpin driving his Ford Focus RS RX to a third place finish, finding himself on the ARX podium for the first time.
Speed’s second place in the ARX final was good enough to secure the title.
All Conner Martell needed was a semi-final win on Sunday, as part of a pair of podium finishes for rounds four and five to lock up his ARX2 championship.
COTA and the FIA state that this will be a multi-year engagement, and I hope they stick around for several years to come. We Americans need more rally racing, and any reason to get more fans to COTA while adding to the variety of action on track is a good one.
I took a ton of pictures throughout the weekend, and got covered in plenty of sweat, sunscreen, rally dirt, and podium champagne. It’s the price I pay to make sure all of our Jalopnik readers get treated to the shots they crave. Sit back, relax, and take in a stack of rallycross shots. It’s the rally car time.