After a disappointingly soggy end to the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) Round in Barcelona, all looked forward to the X Games in Munich, Germany June 27th to 30th. The wait is over and we’re all more than ready for a double header, which will make up for the race that didn’t happen.
A lot of rage was spewed at X Games and GRC organizers via social media, due to the cancellation in Barcelona. Some fans travelled from different parts of Europe to see their heroes make the mud fly at the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc, but were forced to go home disappointed. However, the track was dangerously without grip, sending cars into the wall even while driving slowly. To make them risk life, limb and car under those conditions would have been insane. I for one was glad that good sense prevailed; and if I was there, then it meant that tapas time would have started early. The lineup for this weekend’s fixture features a mixed bag of competitors from GRC, ERC, NASCAR, DTM, Dakar Rally and IndyCar. Here’s a look at the Full Driver Entry List courtesy of GRC:
The Unusual Suspects
Travis Pastrana has chosen Timur Timerzyanov to be his replacement in the Pastrana Racing#199 Dodge Dart. The expectant father should be racing for Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ Feed The Children 300 on June 28th at the Kentucky Speedway. Hopefully he’ll make it to the end of the race this time as ovals haven’t been kind to the X Games legen. In the meantime, Timerzyanov a fellow Red Bull athlete is an exciting substitute. He’s not only aggressive behind the wheel, but has a tenacity that makes him a threat.
X Team Racing is still in the hunt for their first GRC podium and has booked another Brazilian driver to pilot their #12 Mitsubishi Evo. Guilherme Spinelli is a Dakar Rally veteran, which definitely makes him fearless and probably a little bit crazy. Of his five attempts at the world’s ultimate rally raid race, he’s had to withdraw three times; but placed ninth and tenth in two consecutive years. He knows that talent isn’t enough to win, but if your car is able and you’ve got something to prove, then nothing will stand in your way.
Another driver who’s new to rallycross is Mattias Ekström but don’t let that fool you. This is a guy who’s all about podiums, podiums and more podiums. He’s competed in and won the Race of Champions four times; with experience in rally cars and a NASCAR stock car, in addition to his DTM Audi. This weekend, he’ll be in the #29 Volkswagen Polo for Marklund Motorsport. I can guarantee that this German driver isn’t there to race. He’s there to win.
Last but certainly not least is Townsend Bell who’ll be making his GRC debut for OMSE2, in the #7 Royal Purple Ford Fiesta. He has had a respectable IndyCar career and made a successful switch to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) winning last year’s 12 Hours of Sebring on his first attempt. On top of all that, he’s also an NBC Sports analyst for their IndyCar broadcasts. I don’t doubt Bell’s driving skills but I’m not sure how well he’ll fare with rallycross roughness. This is most definitely not gentleman racing. Manly? Yes. Gentle? Not at all. Then again, Scott Speed wasn’t used to this kind of racing and then shocked everybody in Brazil. So who knows?
What’s the bottom line?
This season has been brilliantly unpredictable. With big stars like Block, Foust and Deegan aka three-quarters of the Octane Academy, you’d think that they’d be dominating the Driver Championship Standings but no. The numbers remain the same since Brazil with Speed, Heikkinen and Sandell in the top three spots. So this is a make-or-break weekend for the big dogs to get in the hunt, and put the young pups in their place. With the Subaru Puma Rallycross team back in the mix and these daring guest drivers, that may not be easy to pull off. Personally, I just want to see some rallycross; and although it may be a rainy weekend in Munich, by the looks of the Ford RallyCross FröttmaRing, that won’t matter one bit.
Edit dated June 29, 2013:
Please note the updated US broadcast schedule as follows:
Saturday, June 29th 2013 – 9:30 AM on ESPN3.com (Live)
Saturday, June 29th 2013 – 1:00 to 6:00 PM on ABC
Saturday, June 29th 2013 – 7:00 to 11:00 PM on ESPN
Sunday, June 30th 2013 – 11:00 AM on ESPN3.com & ESPN (Live)