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NEW JERSEY -- Ford Rally driver Tanner Foust is on a roll. He drove his 600hp ROCKSTAR Fiesta to double gold at the X Games in July, and then duplicated the domination at New Jersey Motorsports Park this past weekend in the inaugural RallyCar US Rallycross Championship event. Foust, who is running five events in the European Rallycross Championship in the same Ford Fiesta, is bullish on the future of the fledgling Rallycross sport. So bullish that Foust, who in the past has competed in multiple series (Rally America, Formula Drift, Time Attack) in addition to his television work for SPEED and Top Gear USA, has constructed his racing calendar around Rallycross and X Games. After putting the finishing touches on a winning weekend that saw him win the six-lap finale by 4.2 seconds over Subaru rival Travis Pastrana, Foust took a few minutes to chat with Ford Racing about Fiesta and Rallycross.
Q. YOU WERE EXPECTED TO WIN THIS FIRST RALLYCAR EVENT. YOU CAME TO NEW JERSEY WITH THE MOST RALLYCROSS EXPERIENCE OF ANYONE IN THE FIELD AND WITH A CAR THAT DOMAINATED YOUR OPPONENTS AT X GAMES.
A. The weekend exceeded a lot of expectations. There were more fans that came out than what we expected and there were a lot of teams here without cars just checking out the event. After this weekend, I have a feeling they will probably be back for the second RallyCar Rallycross in October. That is a promising development. We had quite a few cars on track and with the ROCKSTAR Fiesta we have a lot of experience and a lot of practice in the actual car that I was driving. With all the experience we have in the Fiesta we were the safe bet, but our competition showed that they are committed and I think it will be a heated battle going forward.
Q. HOW WAS THE ROCKSTAR FIESTA THIS PAST WEEKEND?
A. The Fiesta was awesome. I said earlier in the weekend that I have got to do a lot of cool things in the Fiesta, but this event was as much fun as anything I have been able to do in that car. With this being the actual car that I have raced in Europe and at X Games there is a familiarity with the Fiesta. It knows its way around the track and I just try to calm it down.
Q. HOW DOES WINNING THIS INAUGURAL EVENT COMPARE TO THE SUCCESS AT X GAMES LAST MONTH?
A. X Games is the biggest event I race in all year, but this is the first of hopefully many Rallycross races in the country, so it is always nice to be the first at something. I invested a lot of time in preparing for X Games and this Rallycross schedule by going to Europe and racing with Olsbergs MSE in the ROCKSTAR Fiesta. The advantage is paying off now, but unfortunately that advantage won’t last long.
Q. WHILE RALLYCROSS HAS BEEN AROUND 40 YEARS IN EUROPE, IT IS A NEW MOTORSPORT FOR NORTH AMERICA. THE LAST “NEW” THING TO HIT THE U.S. MOTORSPORT SCENE WAS DRIFTING AND THAT HAS GROWN STEADILY SINCE ITS INTRODUCTION.
A. There is the writing on the wall and I do think that people around racing and action sports see the initial spark that we saw around drifting six or seven years ago when it was just getting started. Yet at the same time this is different. It isn’t just word of mouth and Internet forums that is driving this and pushing it. It is the millions of people that watched SuperRally at X Games and ESPN covering Rallycross. It is the presence of manufacturers like Ford and Subaru that has other manufacturers looking at the sport. Don’t forget there is the presence of action sports stars like Travis Pastrana, Ken Block and Dave Mira. It feels like a perfect storm coming together and you don’t want to get your hopes and expectations up, but that is kind of feeling for those around Rallycross. When you compare this to traditional motorsports like NASCAR in this country, this is off the wall. Rallycross features tiny little cars that we in the US see almost exclusively as economy cars, yet the rest of the world knows the performance and racing history of these cars dating back to the Escort Mach II back in the 60s. The rest of the world understands that there are cars with the Blue Oval and other manufacturers that are part of a racing brand beyond NASCAR be it rally racing or touring car racing.