Austin Title Battle Beckons for Americas Rallycross

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Americas Rallycross (ARX) returns to Austin, Texas and Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on Saturday, September 28, the venue where the first-ever title was decided last fall. This year, the competition for the second ARX Championship crown is up for grabs.

Throughout 2019, the competition in ARX has been some of the most intense and diverse in U.S. rallycross history, with four different winners in four events.

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The battle for the championship title will only be increased this weekend, as reigning ARX Champion Scott Speed will miss the rest of the season due to a back injury he sustained at Nitro Rallycross in August, but the Subaru Motorsports USA team expands to a four-car WRX STI effort, with Norwegian rallycross phenomenon, Andreas Bakkerud, and talented Finnish driver, Joni Wiman, joining the squad to partner Sweden’s Patrik Sandell and Australia’s Chris Atkinson.

With Speed absent from the event, the effective leader of the points standings is Andretti Rallycross’ Tanner Foust, the three-time U.S. Rallycross champion taking the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle R to victory in Round 4 at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in Canada, in a one-two result for the Andretti team, with Cabot Bigham finishing second in his first ARX Supercar season.

With both Subaru drivers having taken a first ARX win this season in the double-header weekend at ARX of Gateway, Sandell and Atkinson are tied for third in the championship points standings. The Subaru drivers enjoyed a strong weekend at COTA last September, highlighted by a fourth-place finish by Toomas Heikkinen and a fifth from Sandell, but this seasons’ success and the addition of Bakkerud and Wiman will have the team aiming for the top spot of the podium.

Bakkerud is currently one point off the lead of the FIA World Rallycross Championship with just one event remaining, and former U.S. Rallycross champion Wiman also returned to World RX this year and finished on the podium in the Belgian round at Spa-Francorchamps. Their experience and skill will help the Subaru team this weekend, and in the season-finale in Mid-Ohio.

Fifth in the standings and still right in the mix for the title is Loenbro Motorsports’ Steve Arpin. The Canadian star, racing the team’s heavily revised Ford Fiesta Supercar in 2019, almost claimed victory in Round 1 at Mid-Ohio but was given a five-second penalty in the final and finished third. He was then second in Round 2 at Gateway and is hoping for a change in luck this weekend in the No. 00 RDO Equipment Ford Fiesta ST.

His teammate, Travis PeCoy – who like Cabot Bigam has climbed the ARX ladder from the official support category, ARX2, for 2019 – finished second in his Supercar debut and has impressed with fastest times during the season in the highly-competitive field. Like Arpin, he will be hoping to ascend the championship standings with another visit to the podium in Texas.

ARX of Austin will be run over one day, like the first-ever rallycross event held on the circuit’s permanent rallycross layout last July. Three qualifying rounds will determine the Intermediate Classification positions, before the semi-finals and final. Coverage begins at 12:25 p.m. CT on FB.com/ARXRallycross and on the official ARX app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play store. Tickets to ARX of Austin are still available and can be purchased online at ARXRallycross.com/Tickets or by visiting the Grand Plaza Box Office on Saturday.

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Tiernay Oliver