The third round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship puts the “rally” back in rallycross, with a purpose-built track on the grounds of Dallas Fair Park, southeast of downtown Dallas. An opening round sweep by Tanner Foust on the fast and smooth Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona, two weeks ago highlighted the high-speed handling capabilities of the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team’s Beetle rallycross cars.
This weekend’s rough and technical track will favor teams that can quickly adjust to conditions and dial in vehicle setup, and is sure to benefit drivers who thrive on the unpredictable.
Kbalt Tools Ford Fiesta driver Patrik Sandell, whose early racing career took place on the stages of the World Rally Championship, says teams need to get into a different mindset when they’re preparing to take on a non-traditional course. He says it isn’t as much about optimizing the car for the track, but about tuning the cars to suit the strengths of each individual driver to promote confidence and speed.
In stage rally, you have so many different things going on that it’s more about finding a setup that the driver feels comfortable with, because then you allow yourself to drive fast.
The .8-mile course, built specifically for Red Bull GRC on the eastern edge of Dallas Fair Park, will keep drivers busy managing turns and traffic through its 16 corners. Getting a good start will be critical and the first hard right-hand corner will sort the pack as the track falls away mid-corner for a tire-scrambling, sideways slide. Drivers will also need to guard tires carefully as the track crosses bumpy train tracks twice per lap.
In addition to its unusual elements, the Dallas track includes the regular challenges of GRC competition: the familiar 70-foot tabletop jump and a dirt-to-tarmac ratio of about 20 percent to 80 percent. The Joker lap, a shortcut that drivers are allowed to take once per race, should be worth a car-length or two and will provide a critical passing opportunity.
Spring weather in Dallas could prove to be the ultimate wildcard. This Saturday’s race will run rain or shine and forecasters are currently putting the chance of precipitation at 60 percent. The one thing that’s certain about Round 3 of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship is that the competition is wide open.
Story and photo’s: Red Bull Pool