As we are on the dawn of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross Season opener in Barbados, I’ve compiled some preseason power rankings for the 2014 full-time drivers. Driver’s like Travis Pastrana and Dave Mirra, who haven’t committed publicly to multiple events, have been left off the list. These power rankings will be updated after every event throughout the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross Season.
1) Ken Block – The fastest driver in GRC in 2013, his results didn’t show how much faster than the competition he actually was last season. Coming off of a win at the 2013 finale in Vegas, look for the “Head Hoonigan” on the podium in 2014 more often than not, and to be in the running for the 2014 championship at years end.
2) Tanner Foust – The 2-Time GRC Champ had another great year in 2013 finishing 2nd in the championship while somehow never standing on top of the podium. The biggest storyline of the GRC off-season was Tanner’s switch from Ford to VW. It will be interesting to watch how Tanner’s new relationship with Andretti/VW plays out on track, but there is no reason think Tanner won’t be a force in the 2014 championship.
3) Patrik Sandell – Entering his 2nd year in GRC, the stage rally veteran from Sweden showed signs of brilliance in 2013 with multiple podium finishes including two X Games medals (1 in Rallycross and 1 in Gymkhana). Back with 3 time series champions OMSE for 2014, Patrik will definitely be a player in the 2014 championship and should find his first Global Rallycross win sometime in 2014.
4) Rhys Millen – Entering only 2 events in 2013, Rhys is back full time with Hyundai in 2014. The Veloster has proven to be a very competitive car in the past, and with ample off- season testing under his belt, as well as the added benefit of new teammate Emma Gilmour, Rhys “Mad Skills” Millen should find plenty of podiums in 2014.
5) Brian Deegan – “The General” has been one of the most consistent drivers in GRC over the past 2 seasons. A champion in everything he has ever competed in, and known for being one of the most aggressive drivers on track, 2014 could be the year Deegan puts it all together and takes home the championship.
6) Scott Speed – 2013 was full of highs and lows for Scott Speed. Taking home 2 wins, including a gold medal at X Games Brazil, Scott proved to be a major player in GRC despite troubles down the stretch. An off-season switch to Andretti/VW could put the Formula 1 veteran in a prime spot to battle for the 2014 championship.
7) Sverre Isachsen – A 3-time European Champion, Sverre took home 2 podiums in 2013. Consistently one of the fastest starters in GRC, paired with a new Subaru race car, could mean big things for the hard driving Norwegian.
8) Steve Arpin – Widely known as one of the nicest guys in the GRC paddock, Steve Arpin turned heads in 2013 with a solid rookie campaign. With a year under his belt, and back in the same Ford Fiesta for a second straight year, 2014 could be the year the NASCAR veteran breaks through.
9) Joni Wiman – The protege of WRC and GRC veteran Marcus Gronholm, Joni is coming off a dominant 2013 GRC Lites season. Going undefeated and winning 6 out of 6 rounds he has quickly found himself in a top level Supercar ride for series champs OMSE in a Ford Fiesta for 2014. Becoming a Red Bull athlete this off-season, there is no doubt Joni is a future GRC champion, the only question is how soon is it going to happen?
10) Bucky Lasek – GRC’s 2013 “Sportsman of the Year” Award winner, Bucky Lasek is determined to be a winner in Global Rallycross. Working harder than anyone 12 months out of the year, one of the best skateboarders of all time has worked at perfecting his race craft since joining GRC in 2012. 2014 should be the year Bucky puts it all together and finds himself on the podium.
11) Austin Dyne – The NASCAR veteran and son of series owner Colin Dyne pulled double duty in stock cars and GRC Lites in 2013. This year he will be moving in to Supercars and has dedicated himself full-time to Global Rallycross. Running for Open Wheel veteran Bryan Herta’s new team, and running a Ford Fiesta, Austin has surrounded himself with some of the best players in the business for 2014 and could be a legitimate dark horse this season.
12) Nelson Piquet – Former Formula 1 and NASCAR racer Nelson Piquet fought with running an older car in 2013. For 2014 he is stepping up to the Ford Fiesta platform with Indy Car owner James Sullivan and could definitely be a surprise contender for podiums as the year progresses.
13) Emma Gilmour – New Zealand stage rally specialist, and 2010’s “World’s Best Female Rally Driver,” Emma is definitely skilled behind the wheel of a rally car. Moving in to a top level ride alongside fellow New Zealander and teammate Rhys Millen will do nothing but benefit her. As 2014 progresses, and Emma gets more seat time in a GRC Supercar, she will definitely be a one to watch out for.
14) Pat Moro – A Global Rallycross veteran going in to his 4th year, Pat Moro moves in to his 2nd year with the Chevy Sonic platform. Picking up factory involvement from Chevrolet this off- season, and dedicating his resources to competing in select events in 2014, look for this season to be a growing year for Pat Moro and the Chevrolet Sonic with an eye on the 2015 championship.
15) Sarah Burgess – A drifting veteran, Sarah knows how to get sideways in a car. 2014 will mark Sarah’s first foray into the sport of Rallycross and she will be competing in an all new Chevy Sonic platform built in house. She will miss the first event of the year in Barbados, but is signed on for the 9 remaining GRC events in the United States.