03 Oct 2019
Tanner Foust became the first repeat winner of the 2019 Americas Rallycross season, resisting tremendous pressure from an all-star cast of Subaru drivers to win at Circuit of the Americas.
The Volkswagen Andretti driver beat main title rival Patrik Sandell in the six-lap final, a race which saw him engage in an intense fight with wildcard driver Andreas Bakkerud.
It was Foust who made the best start of the field, as he had for much of the weekend, and led into turn one but fellow front row starter Bakkerud soon found a way past. The Norwegian, filling in for the injured Scott Speed, first made heavy contact with Cabot Bigham in the other Volkswagen Beetle, then slid up the inside of Foust to snatch the lead.
Foust kept with the World Championship leader though, and applied the pressure over the two laps. He eventually retook the lead on lap three, nudgine Bakkerud into turn one to unsettle his WRX STI. An aggressive fight back from Bakkerud just before the jump proved fruitless, and he settled back into second place.
Meanwhile the battle between Foust and Bakkerud allowed Chris Atkinson and Sandell in the other Subarus to close in. Sandell, at the back of the four-car train, took the joker on the first lap along with Steve Arpin and now looked best-placed to snatch the victory.
As a result, Foust had to wait until lap six of the race to take his joker, with hoim needing to build a lead. Going onto the final lap, Foust had a 2.6s advantage over Sandell, which proved to be just enough to keep the lead after taking the longer route.
In the end he won by just over a second ahead of Sandell with Bakkerud, who also jokered on the final lap, slotting into third.
Immediately following the conclusion of the race Bakkerud was slapped with a five-second penalty for his contact with Bigham on the opening lap, dropping him to fourth and promoting Arpin to the final podium position.
Atkinson, who was in thick of the podium fight for much of the race, retired on the penultimate lap after a spin on the start-finish straight, while Bigham’s opening lap incident also ended his race early.
* Andreas Bakkerud was handed a five-second penalty for contact with Cabot Bigham
The result means that Foust now leads the championship standings going into the final round of the season at Mid-Ohio next weekend.
With Speed on the sidelines Sandell is now Subaru’s best hope of claiming a first top-level drivers’ title. He sits just 17 points adrift of Foust, with Atkinson a further two points back.
Although his 2019 season is over, Speed is still holding fifth spot for the time being, behind Arpin, but ahead of Travis PeCoy who missed out on a final spot in Austin along with fourth Subaru driver Joni Wiman.