by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross (1); Josh Tons (2); DirtFish (3)
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The series may have been different, but the results of the 2018 Americas Rallycross season were incredibly familiar.
Formed by Supercar teams who withdrew from Red Bull Global Rallycross after the 2017 season, the inaugural year of ARX was in many ways a reset year for the sport in the United States. With an abbreviated schedule, featuring only a single standalone event at Circuit in the Americas in July, just about the only thing familiar this year was the list of drivers who competed. Most of last year’s Red Bull GRC regulars ran the full schedule, joined by the return of big names like Ken Block and Travis Pastrana.
Joining FIA World Rallycross for that series’ first visit to COTA this past weekend, ARX wrapped up its inaugural season as a support event for World RX’s American debut. Led by Tanner Foust, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross continued a winning streak that can be traced back to Red Bull GRC’s visit to Ottawa last June. Foust’s teammate Scott Speed, meanwhile, locked up his fourth consecutive championship dating back to the 2015 Red Bull GRC season.
It was the third 1-2 finish of the season for VARX, and the second of the two won by Foust, as the duo split the four race wins available this season. The third and final podium spot was claimed by Steve Arpin, winner of the last Supercar race that VARX lost in Ottawa last year. It was Arpin’s first podium of the 2018 season, after missing the season opener at Silverstone and placing seventh and sixth in the subsequent rounds.
But third place in the championship went to Patrik Sandell, now in his second season with Subaru Rally Team USA. Sandell was the only non-VARX driver to make it to every ARX final in 2018, delivering both driver and team their best-ever rallycross championship finishes. Ken Block, Arpin’s Loenbro Motorsports/Hoonigan Racing Division teammate, ranked fourth, while Sandell’s teammate Chris Atkinson completed the top five.
Unlike the ARX Supercars, ARX2 featured a doubleheader round to conclude its 2018 season in Austin. Buhl Sport Detroit’s Alex Keyes won both battles, taking his sixth and seventh career race wins in the spec dating back to GRC Lites in 2015. But it was Conner Martell, winner of the first three rounds of the season, who wrapped up his and DirtFish Motorsports’ first rallycross championships with two final appearances and his fourth podium of the five-race season. Martell was one of GRC Lites’ top drivers over the past few years, and Cyril Raymond’s top challenger for that series’ title in 2017.
Plans for the 2019 Americas Rallycross season have not yet been announced. The 2018 season finale can be seen on the CBS Sports Network on Wednesday at 8PM ET/5PM PT.