EVENT DATE: Sat 6/17
TIME ZONE: Eastern Daylight Time (UTC -4)
WEATHER: A mix of sun and clouds with scattered showers
Drivers: Chris Atkinson (Car # 55) & Patrik Sandell (Car # 18)
Cars: Subaru WRX STI GRC SuperCar (VT17x)
TRACK LENGTH: 0.762 miles (1.226 km)
TRACK SURFACE: Pavement 64.2% / Dirt 35.8%
JOKER LAP: Shortcut between Turns 3-6; .718 miles (1.156 km)
JUMP TYPE: Dirt tabletop / Flying finish
RED BULL GRC POWERBLOCK: OTTAWA I SEMIS/FINALS
Sandell P6 / Atkinson P8
P. Sandell – “Qualifying was good, we had a really good warmup this morning, and I felt confident in the car. After seeing where we ended up the first run, we took a strategic decision to not go again because we were P6; which gave us pole position in the first heat. So, it worked out good. If we cannot be absolutely fastest then P6 was the next best thing and we are happy with that. The track is pretty rough in the dirt, but super fast on the asphalt. Now it’s wet for the first heat, so that will mix things up.
C. Atkinson – “We had a pretty good qualifying lap, it doesn’t look that way with P8, but it was so close, I think two-tenths and we would have been P3. You really only get one shot at it and we had good pace. Especially with conditions like this, qualifying isn’t everything. We’re not too worried about it.”
Atkinson P3 / Sandell: DNF
Atko started P1 and Sandell started P3. Sandell had a great start, got the holeshot and was P1 but slid wide on the opening lap and got passed by Bigham and O. Eriksson. Sandell went to pass Bigham, but made contact and lost momentum and got passed by Arpin on lap 3. Atko then made a pass on Bigham over the jump shortly after and taking the joker for P3. Following closely behind was Sandell in P4 who had not taken the joker yet. Atko nearly caught Arpin for P2 at the finish, a photo finish, with Atko taking P3. Incidentally P3 was the better position for the next heat, giving Atko pole in the next heat. Sandell had pulled off with 2 laps to go with broken steering arm.
P. Sandell – “A really good start happened and we got away good. I was mis-judging the grip level in turn 2 a bit so I drifted wide a bit there and a few cars passed me. We had a good race speed, but in the hairpin after the jump I got in contact with one of the other cars and bent a steering arm; two or three laps after that, it broke.”
C. Atkinson – “We had a decent heat. We didn’t get the best start, but we managed to make up a position with a pass at the jump and we were closing in on the others; we really had good race pace which was good. The car was working well and I got right up behind one of the Hondas and Arpin while they had a little bit of a fight on the last corner while I was basically on their bumpers, so we had a little bit of a drag race there at the end. Reasonably happy with P3, as it gives us a good start position for the next heat.”
Sandell: P2 / Atkinson: P4
Atko P1 grid position Sandell P5 grid position. All cars had a great start, and Sandell had P3 going into the second corner. It was P2 Sandell and P3 Atko through the first 3 laps. Bigham took the joker early to go P1, but Atko and Sandell opted to not take the joker yet. Atko was passed with 2 laps to go, then took the joker to gain back P3 and then Sandell took the joker with 1 lap to go to earn P2 finish, Atko finished P4. P. Sandell – “Second heat, we got a really good start; I was battling for position throughout the first couple of laps. We had a good strategy for the joker and passed one person and then we got P2 in that one. That put us in the fast heat for the third heat.”
Atkinson had a perfect start and got the holeshot with the O. Eriksson in chase. Atko took the joker on the second lap; his first opportunity, to try and get a lead on the cars in chase. Atko continued to lead the entire race and was unchallenged earning P1 finish.
C. Atkinson – “The whole result came from the start, that’s where I’d been losing in the first two heats, fighting from the back. It’s hard to come back in 5 laps. I don’t think you could do a better start, so we nailed that and got in front. We ran some good laps and had a decent pace. We had the gaps and no one was catching us and we’re really happy with that. What counts now is the Semi and the Final.”
Sandell start grid position p4. Sandell got a good start, but got pushed going into the second corner; did not appear to cause any significant damage. Sandell ran in P4 for the first laps in front of Speed until Sandell went wide on on a turn and got pushed to p5, but still had the joker. With 2 laps to go, Sandell went for the joker and made the pass on Bigham for P3, where he would finish.
P. Sandell – “We had a good start in this fast heat and happy to be third in this one.”
Atkinson: P2 / Sandell: P4
Atko got another great start and the holeshot, Patrik was right behind him going into the first turn, but got pushed out wide and passed by 2 cars to fall back to P4 mid way through the first lap. Atko took the Joker on the second lap to extend his lead. Sandell continued to fight behind Arpin for the next lap while the S. Eriksson took the joker. Atkinson continued to pull away from the #93 Honda while in P1. Arpin took the joker with 2 laps to go, but was unable to pass Atko on exit. On the final lap Arpin went to pass on the inside and pushed Atko to the outside, pushing him wide off track and making the pass. Atko would finish P2. The team protested the rough driving but GRC did not issue a penalty to Arpin.
P. Sandell – “Not so happy with the semifinal. We got the perfect launch then were fighting; maybe I was pushing a little bit too hard because I was falling back and not catching the others. Just need to put on new tires for the final and go again.”
C. Atkinson – “We had a great start again and got the lead early on and built a decent gap; just tried to run smooth laps. I was maybe being a bit careful, then Arpin just got me at the end, pushed me wide on the last corner. We still ended up second, we’re pretty happy with that.”
Atkinson: P4 / Sandell: DNF
Atko – P4 Grid position / Sandell – P8 Grid pos.
Atko and Sandell both got great starts, but Arpin had a perfect start which appeared to be a jump-start. Atko was P5 on the first lap; Sandell pulled off on the first lap after contact with tire-wall broke a rear driveshaft. Atko continued to fight for P4, while Arpin took the joker on the second lap to extend his lead. Atko eventually gained P4 by taking the joker with 3 laps to go, and was doing good work staying just behind Foust. Atko was able to hold P4 for the remainder of the race.
P. Sandell – “With a decent start from the back, I was able to pass a few people in the first 2 corners, but then I got pushed out a bit wide, so I lost a few spots. I soon clipped the tire barrier just slightly in the fourth corner and broke a driveshaft, I believe, so that was a bummer. I’m really sorry for the team that’s been working so hard and that we couldn’t get further in the final.”
C. Atkinson – “We got a really good start, and I got up beside Foust, but then all the other cars were closing in. I was in the middle and it was pretty rough down in turn one then we were following a couple of Hondas for a while. We had a good few laps early on and stayed with Foust for a while. We joker’d and got in front of the Hondas, and from then on we sort of held position while Foust still had his joker left; so it would be impossible to catch him. We knew that the Hondas had already got away a bit. The gap sort of stayed the same and I might have closed it a little bit, but we just tried to run clean to the end. For me, P4 is probably the best we could have hoped for today. We had a solid day with good points and good consistency coming off a podium in Thompson. The cars took a beating, but kept running no problem so big props to the guys putting in the hard work to make that happen. We’ll be back at it tomorrow.”
RED BULL GRC RD5 FINAL RESULTS
P1 – Steve Arpin, #00 Loenbro Motorsports
P2 – Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross
P3 – Mitchell deJong, #24 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
P4 – Chris Atkinson, #55 Subaru Rally Team USA
P5 – Austin Dyne, #14 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
P6 – Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
P7 – Cabot Bigham, #2 Bryan Herta Rallysport
P8 – Oliver Eriksson, #16 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
DNF – Patrik Sandell, #18 Subaru Rally Team USA
DNS – Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross
Reports by Vermont SportsCar Communications.