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LOS ANGELES – Ford Fiesta came to the X Games seeking a gold for the third straight year in rally car competition. This time Fiesta did it in style sweeping the podium with Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust and two-time world champion Marcus Gronholm claiming the 1-2-3 finish.
Fiesta dominated qualifying taking three of the first four slots and with Foust, the defending X Games RallyCross champ, topping the charts followed by Gronholm third and Deegan fourth. Each Fiesta won its initial heat earning them a slot in the eight car, eight lap gold medal final.
With eight cars on the track the start of the gold medal final was pure chaos. Foust and Liam Doran came into contact with each other entering the first turn thus opening the door for the hard charging Deegan. “The General” seized the opportunity and raced into the lead, a lead he would never relinquish.
“This is one of the biggest moments for me in my career,” said Deegan, who won his first X Games gold medal since 2005. “You know I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve raced supercross, did freestyle motocross, raced short course race trucks, and I’ve won in every formula. Rally my first year I came in swinging and I almost got a medal. The second year I got two silvers. I’m like we’re getting really close now and this is like a once a year deal for me, I show up and race Rally. These dudes are the real deal here. It’s not a gimmick. So I showed up this year prepared. I actually did a lot of testing and did a race before. I came in totally prepared, the Fiestas were super dialed. I actually got it set up to my liking and how I wanted to drive the car. I went out there and I’m just a dirt-biker you know. I went out there, transferred sports and laid it down. I got in the lead and just believed in myself and said alright it’s up to you right now to win this thing. So like I said you’ve got to set your goals, and I think that’s something we’re asking for people, willing to take chances, it’s what we’re advertising in the Octane Academy. For guys who have heart, set some goals and willing to take risks. What are you good at? I was good at dirt bikes and look at now, I’m winning rally races. So we’re going to give you the opportunity to shine and I kind of feel like that’s what I’ve been given here. I want to see other people have this opportunity too and I think that’s going to happen in the Octane Academy.”
Behind him, on the start, the carnage continued. Foust fell to fourth and Gronholm even further back but both steadily moved forward securing the Fiesta sweep.
Foust, the all time leader in X Games rally competition gold medals, he picked up a single silver medal at X Games 17, but he clinched the overall 2011 Global RallyCross Championship as well as the individual disciplines for SuperRally and RallyCross.
“Today was big for Ford,” said Foust. “The 1-2-3 sweep was unexpected, the gold of course, but not the sweep. The 1-2 for ROCKSTAR was also pretty epic. It was a great race. Deegan just took off at the beginning and made a smart move when I followed Liam [Doran] wide. I was in fourth place coming out of turn 2, so I had a lot of work to do. I ended up coming back to second place and I got a flat with two and a half laps to go and maybe I held Gronholm up a little bit but I still ended up finishing second and Marcus third. It was pretty awesome. This particular race pretty much had everything in it. Eight cars might be a little much, but it had sliding and top speed stuff and jumping and stunt driving so it basically had all the things you are going to get in Octane Academy, which I noticed was all over the live telecast as I was watching the race on TV. So I think between watching this race and the commercials for Octane Academy I think we are going to get a huge number of videos which should make for an interesting next chapter.”
Gronholm had dominated the two previous GRC events he raced winning both RallyCross events and taking a first and second in SuperRally. The “Flying Finn” finished second in the GRC championship to Foust giving Fiesta a 1-2 championship finish.
“Today was very good for Ford, and for myself not so fantastic,” said Gronholm. “Even with the difficulties we had we are finally on the podium. The Fiesta was working very well in the final. We had a few issues during the test because the track is so hot for the gearboxes. As you see, three on the podium for Ford is good.”
Deegan’s victory resulted in a lucky fan winning the Ford Fiesta and Metal Mulisha ‘I Win You Win’ sweepstakes. Drew Kaurloto of San Pedro, California won a 2012 Ford Fiesta by entering the onsite contest at X Games and being matched with Deegan the gold medal rally winner.