Kevin Hansen Adds Another Podium to His Growing RX Lites Resume

Photo by Team Peugeot-Hansen

Photo by Team Peugeot-Hansen

 

 

 

Press release, 2014-10-12

Red Bull athlete Kevin Hansen made a fantastic comeback to finish second in the final round of the RX Lites Cup at the Istanbul Park in Turkey. The result also secures Hansen second place in the championship standings.

Hansen started on the second row of the final in his Peugeot 208 Lites and moved up to third in the first corner. He took his compulsory joker lap on lap one [a longer extra route that each driver must take once during the car] and got his head down to chase the cars ahead. Closing in on those who were yet to joker, Hansen tried to pass Latvian Janis Baumanis on the loose section but lost time when the pair made contact. Hansen then passed Baumanis for second and pushed hard on the final lap, but couldn’t find a way passed his compatriot Sebastien Eriksson in the closing stages.

“It was a crazy final. We had so much bad luck this weekend but as a team we got on with it and pushed really hard. We were clever with our joker laps and I’m really pleased to have finished second in the last round of the championship, and in the overall positions,” said Hansen.

The Swede’s weekend didn’t get off to the perfect start, an engine problem in practice meant the Red Bull Peugeot Hansen Junior Team had to change the unit and missed the first r-l-clrdytd-iyjytrltz-hqualifying heat as a result.

“We missed heat one and then in the heat two we had quite a good run but had a fight and lost time. In the fourth heat we proved our pace and were quickest by almost two seconds overall. I had to fight my way up from starting at the back in the semi-finals, but we made it to the final. In the final you just go, go go and try to do your best. I took the joker early to get free air. It worked and we were second on the last lap. I tried to pass Sebastien [Eriksson] but there was no way through. When we had the problems yesterday I thought we had lost second place in the championship, I’m so proud of my team that we manage to fight as hard as we do. We got this result together.”

RX Lites Cup, Turkey: Final Results

1 Sebastien Eriksson
2 Kevin Hansen
3 Janis Baumanis
4 Kevin Eriksson
5 Daniel Holten
6 Yigit Timur

RX Lites Cup Championship after round 6 / 6:

1 Kevin Eriksson 136
2 Kevin Hansen 99
3 Daniel Holten 97
4 Yigit Timur 94
5 Sebastien Eriksson 82
6 Richard Goransson 73

Keep up to date with Kevin Hansen’s progress:
www.KevinHansen.se @kevinhansenjr and on Facebook.

Fan POV: For This Fan, Los Angeles Round Was More Than Just a Race

Karen in the center  - photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross
Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Fan Point-Of-View by Karyn Krukow

Detroit’s loss became Los Angeles’ gain in early September. The Port of Los Angeles became host to a double-header when the race in the Motor City was canceled, turning what was once a two-day event into three. The home race (due to it being held in the same city as the home offices for both GRC and Red Bull) was the first one held in Los Angeles not associated with X Games.

As a fan who has been to both events, I have to say that I preferred the stand-alone race since the entire event is devoted to rallycross – there are no other distractions taking place at the same time or venue. In fact, the only distractions were the ocean front, which meant views of ships coming in and out of the harbor and seal sightings in addition to cars practicing and qualifying at sunset. Red Bull picked an awesome location.

One of the most notable things that happened at the event was the debut of the VW Beetle driven by Andretti Autosport driver Tanner Foust. It was the first time this Beetle raced stateside against other cars on the track. I must confess I wasn’t entirely sure about this deal with the Beetle. I mean come on, a Beetle? But I changed my opinion after seeing its potential. My full conversion came when I saw Tanner not only keep pace with Ken Block while driving the Beetle, but also driving faster at times. That Beetle is a beast, and once it’s fully dialed in, watch out!

Tanner, if you are reading this, sorry for being a doubting Thomas!

Geoff Sykes - Photo by Karen Krukow

Geoff Sykes – Photo by Karen Krukow

One of the highlights of the race experience is being able to roam the pits during down time. You never know who you’ll run into or what shenanigans the drivers are up to. More importantly, you get to witness the hard-working teams putting the cars back together post-race. Seeing Bucky Lasek zipping around on a mini-motorbike chatting up fans is something I won’t forget. Same thing with spotting Steve Arpin hitching a ride on the tire golf cart, and watching Geoff Sykes sign parts of his car and hand them over the fence to fans was hilarious. That was a first for me.

Ken Block’s daughters sold lemonade on behalf of the Keep A Breast Foundation’s “Save the Boobies” cancer awareness campaign at the event. It was heartwarming to see them following their father’s lead in supporting the charity. Yes, Ken followed through with his pledge to wear the specially designed pink DC driving shoes featuring the “I Heart Boobies” slogan we all know.

Wandering around toward the end of day two I ran into Rhys Millen hauling his own tires. My comment made in jest, “They make the boss work? What?” was met with a smile from Millen and a simple reply, “I offered to do it this one time so the team could eat dinner.”

Karen in the center  - photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Karen in the center – photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

When I attempt to put the experiences of three days of racing into perspective, what stands out most was the teams’ level of dedication backing up the drivers. The drivers always give credit to their teams but rarely does it come from the fans. Watching them piece these cars back together day after day for the event was astounding. Their talent and abilities to do the repairs under such time constraints is admirable. It’s given me a new appreciation for the effort that goes into racing.

On Saturday night I walked through the pits to leave for the day. Every pit had car parts littering the floor, with team members getting ready for a long night of various repairs. When the gates were open at 8 am Sunday morning you could see the drivers practicing, meaning the teams likely did not get much sleep. On behalf of the fans, thank you to the teams for your hard work and dedication to your drivers and their cars.

I would like to thank Rallycross360.com for asking me to write this fan point-of-view for the Los Angeles race. For me it was an opportunity to show that fans should not just go to see the best type of auto racing, but to take in the whole experience. It’s a great series where the drivers truly love the interaction with their fans. I can’t wait to see it grow even more in popularity.

Exclusive: Eight Questions with Red Bull GRC Lites Driver, Tyler Benson

Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross
Tyler Benson in Seattle

Tyler Benson in Seattle

Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites driver Tyler Benson was addicted to speed at an early age. Having a 600-acre backyard in New Jersey gave him plenty of space to run wild on many of the motorized vehicles the family owned. Anything with an engine, that’s what Tyler wanted to play on.

“I always loved speed and racing. When I’m pushing it to that edge, that teetering point where you have control but you’re just walking that fine line, that’s when I feel most alive,” said Benson.

Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Benson didn’t take the normal route into racing.  Most drivers start out at a young age competing in either local karting clubs or dirt bike clubs and work their way up the ranks. Fast forward to Tyler’s adulthood where he is part owner of the family business, a successful car dealership in South Brunswick, New Jersey, called Brad Benson Automotive Group.

“Several years ago when Hyundai was fully supporting both rallycross and drifting, Rhys Millen entered the picture. He would call me up when there was an East Coast event and I would let him use one of the bays in my shop to work on his car. He and I developed a friendship. Since then, we worked on getting me into a Lites car.”

Last season Tyler finally got his chance to prove his skills out on a professional track, driving his first GRC Lites race for Olsbergs MSE in the Atlanta round. He did so well they invited him to the next round in Charlotte and again in the final round in Vegas.

Tyler has raced the full 2014 season with Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing (RMR) and has continued to improve his skills out on the track. RMR had a great weekend at the Daytona round with Tyler earning a third place podium finish and Millen winning the Supercar final.

Rallycross360 caught up with Tyler at round nine in Seattle.

Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

What did you think about the track in Seattle?
“I love it because it’s basically opposite of every circuit we’ve run so far. We’ve been mostly in parking lots with dirt jumps and this is what I believe to be a proper rallycross track with lots of dirt and gravel and passing opportunities.  It’s more conducive to my style of driving. I’m really happy to be at a circuit where the Joker Lap isn’t your only opportunity to make a clean pass.”

How has it been working with Rhys?
“It’s been great. Plus I have Timmy (the crew chief) and Niko working on my car. Everything that I seem to break or whatever happens, I can always count on them to have it ready by the final. It’s always good to not have to worry about the car so I can focus on what I need to do as a driver. I couldn’t ask for a better crew of guys to work with.”

Previously you’d talked about getting more aggressive this season. How is that coming along?
“Just confidence, building my confidence. I feel that I’ve earned respect from the other drivers, that I’m a legitimate contender and I’m not just out there to be out there. By the looks of the car, you can see that we have been quite a bit more aggressive. Not dirty, but we take our chances, pick our spots, and go for it.”

Tell us a little bit about your background.
“Basically, I grew up a farm boy. Running ATVs, snowmobiles, power boats, tractors, etc. I think I got my first quad when I was two, a little Honda 70, and pretty much since then anything with a motor, me and my brother find a way to go fast and battle each other. We’ve always been competitive and he’s always been a good sparring partner for me growing up. That brother rivalry, we just punched each other to the max and it’s always good fun and it makes us both better.”

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Photo by Rallycross360

What’s been your favorite track this season?
“Honestly for my style of driving and for what I like to do, so far the DirtFish track has been my favorite venue. It’s not so one-line where it’s like a locomotive going through and everyone is following each other stacked up. You have opportunities to make moves besides the joker. In most spots it’s pretty wide and if you’re smart you can pick a spot and make a pass.”

Do you have a strategy when you go out onto the track?
“Between my crew chief Timmy and Stephan Verdier spotting for me, we always have some kind of a game plan before going out there. Sometimes we have to call an audible but we always go out there with a game plan in mind and then we take it as it comes.”

What other sport would you like to try?
“I’ve always been into stage rally. Pretty much all extreme sports and everything that would be considered my hobbies, like racing our boat. We go to Colorado a few times every winter and we keep all of our snowmobiles out there and do high country powder rides, so pretty much anything with an engine. It’s just in our blood and it’s what we do.”

Anything you’d like to say to fans?
“With the Red Bull voting polls open, they have been wonderful. They’ve showed me a lot of love and I appreciate it. Hopefully we can continue it and pull it out in November as the fan favorite. Without the fans I wouldn’t be able to do what I love to do.”

Exclusive: Six Questions with Red Bull GRC Supercar Driver Emma Gilmour

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The 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross season introduced fans to a fresh face in the Supercar class: Emma Gilmour, the first female driver in GRC history. Hailing from New Zealand, Emma is sweet and pretty. She’s polite and kind. But put her behind the wheel of a Global Rallycross Supercar and she transforms into a snarling, grinding, aggressive, tire-shredding competitor with more than enough talent to clean the clocks of anyone in the current lineup of drivers.

Emma, who’s garnered success in stage rally, competes in a Hyundai Veloster Turbo Supercar for Rhys Millen Racing (RMR). Rallycross360 talked with Emma about her transition from stage rally to rallycross, as well as her perspective on this season’s racing.

How did a woman from New Zealand end up in the States racing in Global Rallycross?
“Rhys asked me last year if I wanted to come over and do rallycross. It took me all of a split-second to say yes. I have a background in stage rally and Rhys was really looking for a fast female as a second driver for the team and I fit that bill. It’s been an amazing opportunity.”

How is it working with Rhys Millen?
“Great!  He’s a lovely guy and it’s been really good to work with him. The Hyundai is just fantastic to drive and it’s all about gaining experience this season.”

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Emma Gilmour at the Seattle event – photo by Rallycross360

What type of adjustments have you had to make going from rally to rallycross?
“There have been so many elements that have made it a really big learning curve. The first one is that it has largely been tarmac courses that we’ve been on. I’ve had to adjust my driving style to be a lot smoother and learn road racing techniques. It’s been great though. It’s such a competitive championship, and the thing that probably makes it tougher is the limited time we have on the tracks. It’s hard when you’re learning to speed up as much as possible. Racing with other cars is quite weird – it’s just like racing in a video game. It’s so much fun.”
IMG_5172

Photo by Rallycross360

Do you come across challenges because you’re the only female on the track?
“I don’t know any different because I’ve always just been another competitor. The support I get from people when they see me out there with the boys has been great. It helps with getting a quick fan base to support you here in America. It’s wonderful when young girls come along to watch the guys compete and they see a girl out there doing it. It’s like, ‘Yeah, girls can do anything.'”

It may be a bit too early to know, but will we see you back in GRC again next season?
“I really hope so. It’s been a big learning year and I know that I’ve got more speed to show and I’d really love to come back and have another go next year.”

Is there anything you would like to say to the fans?
“Thanks everyone for your support. I really love it here in America and I feel so at home. It’s wonderful.”

Header photo by Alison Padron/Red Bull Media House/ERC24

Subaru Rally Team’s Sverre Isachsen Wins Red Bull Global Rallycross Seattle

Sverre Wins!

Sverre Wins!

PRESS RELEASE FROM RED BULL GLOBAL RALLYCROSS

Sverre Isachsen scored Subaru Rally Team USA’s first-ever Red Bull Global Rallycross victory in front of a sellout crowd at DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, WA, in Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Seattle. Isachsen, a three-time European rallycross champion, earned the victory over new series points leader Joni Wiman and Brian Deegan.

“It is really important for the team,” said Isachsen. “We never gave up on developing this car — it takes time. You do something wrong, but then you do something right, and then of course today we had a fast car. It’s huge for everybody, all the Subaru guys.”

Tanner Foust through the planer building.

Tanner Foust through the planer building

A thrilling main event saw points leader Ken Block, starting from pole, clip a barrier upon entering the joker lane in the first corner, allowing Isachsen to get by while Block bounced into two-time series champion Tanner Foust. Wiman, who started from the outside front row and elected to save his joker, fought his way back into second place to take his third consecutive podium finish.

“We worked hard, and the second half of the season has been really good,” Wiman said. “It’s amazing to lead the championship. I’m so happy and it feels amazing, and I want to go!”

In GRC Lites, Mitchell DeJong clinched the 2014 championship by virtue of starting the event, mathematically eliminating all other drivers from contention. The 17-year-old celebrated in the best way possible by earning his sixth victory and third perfect weekend (he was fastest in qualifying and the winner of both of his heats) of the year. Austin Cindric and Alejandro Fernandez completed the podium.

Full results from Red Bull Global Rallycross Seattle:

1.  Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
2.  Joni Wiman, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
3.  Brian Deegan, #38 Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta ST
4.  Nelson Piquet Jr., #75 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
5.  Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
6.  Scott Speed, #77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
7.  Patrik Sandell, #18 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
8.  David Higgins, #715 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
9.  Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
10. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
11. Steve Arpin, #00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
12. Austin Dyne, #14 Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
13. Emma Gilmour, #27 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
14. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI

Unofficial points through nine of 10 rounds are as follows:

1. Joni Wiman, 332 points
2. Ken Block, 320
3. Nelson Piquet Jr., 304
4. Scott Speed, 303
5. Sverre Isachsen, 247

All photos provided by Red Bull Global Rallycross

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