Tanner Foust wins 2012 Global Rallycross Championship title
Rockstar Energy Drink driver Tanner Foust successfully defended his Global Rallycross Championship title with a win at the season finale held Tuesday in Las Vegas.
"This was a whole team effort," said Foust after the race. "The Global Rallycross Championship was very competitive and it is a credit to the strength of the Ford Fiesta that we were able to bring home this championship and the manufacturer's title again in 2012."
Racing took place under the lights on a purpose-built RallyCross course constructed at the Convention Center in downtown Las Vegas, where the automotive industry is gathered this week for the world-famous Specialty Market Equipment Association (SEMA) show.
The course featured a 30 per cent to 70 per cent mix of dirt and tarmac more similar to the traditional tracks Foust has faced in two strong European Rallycross Championship seasons. For this round, the traditional 70' gap jump was constructed from dirt, adding a crowning touch to what many considered a true driver's course.
"It was awesome to have this race at SEMA," said Foust. "We finally got to show the core group of professionals in the automotive industry what the RallyCross hype is all about."
The title fight came down to a tight contest between Foust and his teammate Brian Deegan. The two have traded split-seconds in competition before. In 2010, Foust won the two gold medals for rally car racing competition at X Games, while Deegan earned a pair of silvers. They swapped positions in 2011.
Foust's overseas competition experience played to his benefit in Las Vegas. He has run full RallyCross campaigns in both Europe and the United States for the past two years. He had a pair of wins and took third place overall in the European Rallycross Championship this season - despite having to miss three rounds due to scheduling conflicts.
In Las Vegas on Tuesday, Foust won both of his heat races to bypass the Last Chance Qualifier and advance directly to the Final. After an exciting battle with fellow Ford driver Ken Block, Foust took the lead with one lap to go. But his championship bid was momentarily denied when Block's Fiesta caught fire, prompting a red flag and race restart. In the re-run of the Final, a determined Foust led from start to finish, fending off a capable challenge from teammate Deegan.
"I could hear the crashing behind me as I led through the first corner and I knew there was a battle going on," said Foust. "But I never saw another car out there."
It was the second 2012 win for Foust in the six-round championship. He stood on the top step of the podium a month ago in Las Vegas. He was the only repeat winner in the field on Tuesday. Foust also scored the Discount Tire America's Tire Cup. A trophy and prize purse of $25,000 were awarded to the driver who earned the top points tally in three select events in the six-round series: Texas, New Hampshire, and Las Vegas.
Rallycross is a blend of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition. It promises intense, crowd-pleasing action in a fan-friendly track environment. As many as 10 drivers line up to start at once, piloting high-horsepower compact cars through race traffic over a challenging short course that features jumps, unbanked turns and changing track and surface conditions that can include dirt, gravel, and wet and dry tarmac.