Red Bull GRC Louisville: Rivalries to Watch
The start of a new Red Bull Global Rallycross can only mean one thing: the birth of some brand new rivalries.
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With new drivers in both the Supercar and GRC Lites classes, last month’s season opener in Memphis was the first chance for fresh talent to make its mark against the series’ established veterans. And with more wheel-to-wheel action than ever thanks to a new race format, some drivers and teams got intensely familiar with one another.
So which head-to-head matchups are we looking out for this weekend in Louisville? Here are some of the battles that could come to define the second round of the season:
Chris Atkinson vs. Cabot Bigham
Including the final, the defending GRC Lites champion and longtime World Rally Championship standout met in four of five rounds in Memphis, putting on some of the most intense head-to-head battles of the weekend. Contact over the jump in the first round ended both of their races early, but Atkinson rebounded in round two for a dominant victory. Bigham nipped him for third in their semifinal—but who will make the most of a brand new course in Louisville?
Conner Martell vs. Cyril Raymond vs. Alex Keyes
If Memphis is any indication, this is the trio to watch for the GRC Lites title. All three drivers won at least one heat or semifinal during the opener, often times having to best one another to do it. Keyes had the lead in the main event until hitting the dirt the wrong way and taking his left rear tire off the rim, allowing Martell and Raymond to move up to first and second. With apologies to a handful of other drivers on the grid, these three should be fighting it out all season long.
Loenbro Motorsports vs. Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
Three drivers held the third place spot in the Supercar final in Memphis: Sebastian Eriksson from the front of the grid, Mitchell deJong after an early Joker Lap, and Steve Arpin for the second half of the race. All three are well respected, and all three have proven that they have winning speed. The real question is, how long can Arpin and his single-car squad hold off the factory-backed Honda trio that showed so much speed in the season opener?
Scott Speed vs. Tanner Foust
This head-to-head battle will be among our top rivalries in the sport until further notice. The two winningest drivers in Red Bull GRC history are going head-to-head in basically every round right now, and both drivers have proven that they can beat the other—Foust doing so from the outside of the track in the third round of heats with an incredible start. Speed was better on ground-up builds last year and won in Memphis; can Foust strike back in Louisville?
Red Bull Global Rallycross Louisville
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Supercar Finals: May 21, 1PM ET, NBC // Lites Finals: May 24, 5PM ET, NBCSN
Photo credit: Louis Yio