We were a bit behind the 8 Ball this year on our X Games coverage due to extremely difficult media conditions but we were still able to bring you a few nice shots of the action that took place on the streets of LA over the weekend. In case you live in a cave on another planet, you probaby already know that WRC-hero Sebastien Loeb won X Games gold with the Gymkhana Master Ken Block grabbing silver and last year’s winner Brian Deegan grabbing bronze. Shooting conditions aside, it was a great show and I think it helped expose even more people to Rally racing. Here is hoping that things get even better next year. Now hit up our Facebook page to see our gallery of shots!
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One of the biggest stories of X Games 18 Rally X so far is the horrible crash that happend to Toomas Heikkinen on Friday. The young driver went too slow on the ramp, thus shorting the 50ft gap jump and running head-on into the other side. The incident caused a big stir and the rumor around the Rally paddock was that all the drivers who came over from Europe banded together and told X Games rally officials that they would refuse to drive unless jump was changed from a gap to a table top style jump. Wether the rumor is true or not the jump was in fact changed yesterday. I decided to haunt the paddock and talk to as many drivers as I could to see what they really thought of the jump modification. The result was a mix-bag of opinions, all of which you can see below.
It should be noted that after the change to the jump was completed practice went underway late Saturday and during the session Marcus Gronholm suffered a crash into a barrier just after successfully completing the jump. Marcus hit the barrier so hard that he was knocked unconcious. However reports are that he is now awake and under observation in a local hospital.
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The Subaru Rally Cross team has just let the world know that their new partner is lifestyle clothing brand PUMA. To celebrate the now three car team got chased by a helicopter on a closed course while hooning their 600HP STi’s. Oh, did I just glance over the three car team thing? My bad. There are now three drivers under the Subaru/PUMA banner. One of them is returning drive Dave Mirra. I will let you watch the video to figure out who the other two are. You may be pleasantly surprised!
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X Games 17 Rally has come and gone but we were on site to bring you as much of the action as possible. We are starting off by answering the question “What do the rally cars do the night before X Games?” The answer: They jump! A special jump session was set up to test out the 50 foot gap jump made entirely from dirt and gravel. We were there to take a few shots and we even compiled a short video of all the jump action. You can see a few pics and the video below. For a full photo gallery just visit our Facebook fan page.
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We finally have our X Games 17 Rally coverage up and running! Yay for us! Ok so in case you are in the rare position of not being at X Games 17 or not catching it on TV or any of the TV repeats then you are in luck because we will give you the break down. Things kicked off on Saturday with Super Rally racing. Super Rally is the timed head-to-head event with two cars racing each other at a time and each car needing to take one “Joker Lap” per heat. Many were expecting the big budget Ford Fiestas to dominate on that day but it was actually Monster Energy Driver Liam Doran in his flat black Citroen. Before the weekend most of us have never heard of Liam but he is actually Tanner Foust’s main rival in the European Rally Cross series over seas so it was no surprise that he had no fear of the golden child on American Soil.
The next day was the main event that we were all waiting for: Rally Cross. Rally Cross is the 4 car at a time mayhem that we saw last year for the first time in the LA Colosseum. This year things were changed up a bit as in the final heat there were 8 cars total in the final heat instead of 4. Each winner of the round 1 heats were lined up in the front row while the top four from the “Last Chance Qualifier” (AKA “LCQ”) lined up in the back row, then all of them were let loose on the streets of Los Angeles. Tanner Foust, Marcus Gronholm, Brian Deegan, Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, and Liam Doran were all among the final 8 to do battle. Note that Travis Pastrana is on that list. Despite breaking his throttle foot the Friday before during the Moto X best trick Pastrana made his way into the race with the help of his team engineering a set of hand controls ala Alex Zanardi. Although despite his best effort Travis was not able to come out on top. So, who won the epic battle? It was none other than Brian Deegan, general of the “Metal Mulisha” that ran away from the pack and took his first Rally X Games gold. You can check out highlights from both events below and check out some of our official galleries via the links below as well.
Rally Car Racing Highlights:
Rally Cross Highlights:
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The past weekend saw the return of Formula 1, Indy Car, and World Touring Car. It also saw the birth of an official Rally Cross (AKA Rally X) series in America. The first round of the Global RallyCross Championship officially kicked off at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale. Those who watched the Summer X Games last year had a taste of Rally X as it was part of all the action in downtown Los Angeles. The LA Colosseum was filled with dirt, complete with jumps and tunnels on a course that took the cars inside and out of the venue. In fact, one of the key parts of Rally X is the infamous jump. So, you may be asking “how did they pull that off at an asphalt oval NASCAR track such as Toyota Speedway?” With a pile of dirt and a team of earth movers, that’s how! They brought literal tons of dirt to the in field of the oval and constructed a 70 foot jump for the AWD class cars to take on. It was certainly an amazing sight.
Many were anticipating this event as its rumored to be the “next big thing” in motorsports since drifting. With big names like Tanner Foust (who is taking a break from drifting this year to focus on Rally X), Ken Block, Dave Mirra, and Brian Deegan involved Rally X already has the star factor working for them. Bringing in the “X Games crowd” is a huge advantage for Rally X and the sponsors are taking notice. For example most people in the states have never heard the name Marcus Gronhom before despite his fame in other parts of the world for kicking major butt in WRC. However, he was able to land a full title sponsorship from Best Buy for the entire 2011 Rally X season. There have been drift teams courting Best Buy for years but in the end the retail electronics company went with Rally X as their second foray into motorsports involvement. To give you an idea of the gravity of this move, the only other motorsport team Best Buy sponsors is in NASCAR.
The Competition was broken into two main classes: AWD and 2WD. The AWD class had the likes of Tanner Foust and WRC legend Marcus Gronholm in AWD Ford Fiesta’s similar to those used at X Games last year. The AWD class also had Rhys Millen competing in his new Hyundai Veloster rally car with his teammate Marcus Dodd in his own identically prepped Veloster as well. The 2WD class consisted mostly of privateers and up-and-comers. However Jeremy Barnes from Mazda showed up with Mazda Senior VP of Product Development Robert Davis on hand as his crew chief. What was their competition vehicle of choice? Not some crazy AWD modded Mazdaspeed3, or even an RX-8, no. They brought the very same B-Spec Mazda2 that ran in Thunderhill! Jeremy actually did pretty well but during the last heat of Friday he had a misunderstanding with the back of a Ford Focus which ended his weekend. He was ok but the Mazda2 was pretty much done. If you were looking forward to driving it at the next Mazdaspeed press day you are unfortunately SOL at this moment!
When the dust settled after the main competition on Saturday it was Marcus Gronholm who took the AWD class victory by edging out Tanner Foust. Matthew Johnson took the 2WD class victory in his Nitro Circus sponsored Mazda RX-8.
Check out more photos from the event on our Facebook page. Also stay tuned for a few interviews from the event!
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