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Championship Contenders: GRC Lites

September 5, 2017
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In one of the most exciting GRC Lites seasons in recent memory, one driver has stood tall against a barrage of challenges from an evenly matched field. Cyril Raymond of Olsbergs MSE X Forces, the European Lites champion in 2016, has a championship lead of 68 points heading into this weekend’s Seattle doubleheader—just six points short of a full race.

The bad news for Raymond: there’s an incredibly deep field of past race winners and up-and-comers ready to pounce if he has a bad race. Today, we look at the top drivers he’ll need to hold off to take home the title, and compare their seasons so far:

Cyril Raymond (1st, 605 points)

  • 2017 Highlights: 5 wins, 7 podiums, 20 heat/semifinal victories
  • 2017 DNFs: Louisville (DNF)
  • 2016 at Remaining Events: N/A

We all knew Raymond was good coming into this season. We didn’t know that he was going to sweep the month of June and go 5-for-6 in doubleheaders thus far. Olsbergs MSE has always been a factory for producing top young talent, and there’s no doubt that Raymond is Supercar ready, but this kind of dominance hasn’t been prevalent in the Lites class for quite a while.

The only chance the field really has on Raymond is for the French driver to have a full-on collapse. He’s shown no signs of it thus far, but we’ve seen much stranger things happen in past seasons in both classes. He won’t be able to let off on the way to this championship.

Conner Martell (2nd, 537 points)

  • 2017 Highlights: 2 wins, 5 podiums, 11 heat/semifinal victories
  • 2017 DNFs: New England I (DNF)
  • 2016 at Remaining Events: 1st (Seattle), 11th (Los Angeles I), 6th (Los Angeles II)

There’s lots of good news for Martell coming into Seattle, both looking back and looking forward. Last month, he was the top point-scorer in Atlantic City with finishes of second and first, and even gained a few points on Raymond. This month, he’ll aim to defend a dominant Seattle win from last season on the home turf of his DirtFish Motorsports squad.

The real question is how well Martell will handle the Los Angeles finale this year. In 2016, his Seattle win was what kept him mathematically alive in the points chase; in LA, a missed final on day one eliminated him. This year, he’ll be aiming to go head-to-head with Raymond there.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

  • Travis PeCoy: 3rd, 503 points; 4 podiums, 3 heat/semifinal victories
  • Christian Brooks: 4th, 494 points; 2 wins, 6 podiums, 6 heat/semifinal victories
  • Alex Keyes: 5th, 432 points; 2 podiums, 7 heat/semifinal victories

With three bullets in the chamber, the Indianapolis-based DRR squad is shooting for back-to-back Lites titles. The question, of course, is which one of its young but proven drivers—Christian Brooks, Travis PeCoy, or Alex Keyes—will separate himself from his two teammates.

Keyes won in Los Angeles last year, but is the furthest back of the three by nearly a full race. PeCoy ranks highest and has been solidly consistent but is yet to take a victory. That leaves Brooks, a two-time winner this season who led the standings until a pair of DNFs in Ottawa. It’s anyone’s guess as to who will step up from this group of friends, teammates, and Californians.

Red Bull Global Rallycross Seattle

Event Info: Click here // Tickets: Click here // Volunteers: Click here
Play Fantasy Challenge: Click here
Download the App: App Store // Google Play
Supercar Round 10 Finals: September 9, 4:30PM ET, NBC // Supercar Round 11 Finals: September 10, 4:30PM ET, NBC
Lites Rounds 10-11 Finals: September 13, 5PM ET, NBCSN

Photo credit: Louis Yio