COLOGNE, Germany – Ford is ready to defend its early-season dominance in the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) as X Games belatedly makes its European debut this weekend in Munich, with seven spectacular Fiesta ST Global Rallycross Cars primed to do battle.
Ford is the sole automotive sponsor of the four 2013 summer X Games contests, each of which includes the burgeoning discipline of rallycross amongst its plethora of crowd-pleasing action sports.
The seven drivers sporting the Blue Oval in Munich will be OlsbergsMSE quartet Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan, Toomas Heikkinen and Patrik Sandell, OMSE2 duo Scott Speed and Steve Arpin and Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block.
Speed led a commanding top five lock-out for Ford in the X Games / GRC curtain-raiser in Brazil in April, whilst Foust warmed-up for Munich by clinching his second FIA European Rallycross Championship victory of the season in Finland earlier this month.
Based upon the recently-launched Fiesta ST road car, the four-wheel drive, 550PS rallycross car is capable of accelerating from 0-100kph faster than an F1 car.
As the rallycross event in Barcelona last month was cancelled due to extreme weather conditions, Munich will host a double-header on Saturday and Sunday at the FröttmaRing close to the Allianz Arena, home to the German city’s legendary football club Bayern Munich.
The rallycross element of X Games Munich is set to rev into life at 14.00 local time on Saturday with practice & seeding (qualifying), followed by the races from 15.30. Sunday’s round three competition will begin with practice at 14.20, with the heats scheduled to kick-off at 17.00.
What is X Games?
The brainchild of US sports broadcaster ESPN, X Games was launched as ‘Extreme Games’ in 1995, with the inaugural adrenaline-fuelled competition taking place on Rhode Island, N.Y. The four summer X Games now feature rallycross, motocross, BMX and skateboard showdowns and the Munich events are centred on the German city’s Olympic Park complex.
What is the Global Rallycross Championship?
The Global Rallycross Championship is a nine-round series that includes all four summer X Games fixtures. Ford clinched successive GRC manufacturers’ crowns in 2011 and 2012, whilst Foust drove a Fiesta to the drivers’ title in both campaigns.
How does it work?
Up to 20 of the world’s finest rallycross exponents pit themselves against one another in a cross between rallying and circuit racing, going wheel-to-wheel around a purpose-built, mixed-surface course featuring jumps, fast straights and challenging corners.The competition begins with a practice session followed by timed qualifying – or seeding. Four heats ensue, with the top two finishers in each advancing to the 10-car final. Grid positions for the final are determined by seeding order. The last two slots for the final are claimed by the highest two finishers in the Last Chance qualifier (LCQ), which unites all competitors who failed to progress directly from the heats. There is a twist in the final, in that each driver must use a ‘joker’ lap once. The ‘joker’ briefly takes them on an alternative course, but the strategic element comes in judging when to deploy it. The top three finishers are awarded X Games gold, silver and bronze medals, with all finishers scoring points towards the Global Rallycross Championship.