In 2007 Tanner Foust earned the nick name “Golden Child” by winning X Games Rally gold and winning the Formula Drift championship all in the same year. Since then hes had some significant success (he followed up his ’07 Formula Drift championship with another in ’08) but this year Tanner is in position to raise the bar for himself yet again by winning two gold medals at X Games 16. The first in head to head rally racing then again in the 4 car mayhem known as “Super Rally”.
Head to head rally racing could only be described as chaotic. Things were shaping up ok but after Friday’s practice many of the rally drivers felt that the course design was too tight. This left the drivers meeting with track officials Saturday morning about possibly re-configuring the course lay out. The driver’s got their wish and the course was changed but by the time the changes were complete there was no time for the drivers to practice on the new configuration. To add to the tension the drivers were feeling from no practice time was the red-flag rule hanging over their heads. In short the red-flag rule states that if a driver deviates from the designated course they will instantly be “red flagged” and if you get red flagged it is an automatic disqualification from that heat.
This combination resulted in nearly every heads up rally racing heat ending with a red flag disqualification. Including the final battle between Tanner Foust and fellow Rockstar Energy/Ford Racing driver Brian Deegan. You can watch their battle below.
After the pandemonium of head to head rally racing was over it was time for the event that everyone was waiting for: the 4 car tandem “Super Rally”. In the Super Rally race 4 cars at a time all race against each other in a 4 lap heat. To mix things up each driver is required to use the “Joker Lane.” The Joker Lane is a slightly longer path through the course that included the massive gap jump. The tricky part about this was that the drivers could choose when they wanted to take the Joker lane. Since no one knew what driver would take the Joker lane at what time no one knew what to expect or when to expect it!
After four heats the final was dominated by professional drivers as Verdier, Foust, and Hubinette all lined up against the only non-drifter Brian Deegan. You can see how the final Super Rally battle played out below:
With Formula D drivers dominating the X Games rally, could this mean we might see more action sports and rally drivers like Ken Block and Travis Pastrana take up drifting to improve their skill set? Probably not, but it would be interesting to see!
All in all despite the confusion during the head to head rally racing Super Rally more than made up for everything and definitely looks like the sport could have a BIG future on American soil.