IN BRIEF: Christian Brooks broke through for his first career GRC Lites victory in Louisville on Sunday, holding off Cyril Raymond in a tight battle until the latter rolled his vehicle on the final lap. Memphis winner Conner Martell and Lites newcomer Gustavo Yacaman completed the podium.
HEAT RECAPS: Six different drivers took heat victories at the Kentucky Exposition Center: Brooks, Raymond, Martell, Travis PeCoy, and CORE autosport teammates Jon Bennett and Colin Braun. Brooks and Martell continued their momentum by adding victories in the two semifinals.
MAIN EVENT RECAP: Building on his dominance from the heats, and continuing momentum from a podium finish last month in Memphis, Brooks led the Lites final from flag to flag. The karting veteran spent a majority of the race with Raymond in his mirrors, the reverse of their running order in the season opener.
Contact between Martell and Alex Keyes on the first lap ended Keyes’ race prematurely, but it was Raymond who suffered the most spectacular incident of the final. On the final lap, the French driver clipped a curb in such a way that his Olsbergs MSE X Forces car bounced onto two wheels and tipped over, coming to rest on its hood in the racing line. The race was red flagged for safety reasons and declared official shortly thereafter.
RESULTS: GRC Lites results from Red Bull GRC Louisville are as follows:
- Christian Brooks, #44 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
- Conner Martell, #21 DirtFish Motorsports
- Gustavo Yacaman, #4 AF Racing
- Colin Braun, #56 CORE autosport
- Jon Bennett, #54 CORE autosport
- James Rimmer, #25 DirtFish Motorsports
- Cole Keatts, #53 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
- Travis PeCoy, #3 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
- Cyril Raymond, #13 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
- Alex Keyes, #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
- Alejandro Fernandez, #126 AF Racing
QUOTES: Driver quotes from the podium at Red Bull GRC Louisville:
Christian Brooks, #44 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: “I feel amazing! I have to thank my team at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for giving me an amazing car. We ended up getting the holeshot in the heat race, semi, and final, so it wasn’t too hard to keep the lead after that. I had major, major pressure behind me in pretty much every race, so I just had to keep consistent laps behind me and keep my head on straight, and it ended up working out!”
Conner Martell, #21 DirtFish Motorsports: “We’re trying to win this year, and being consistent is what’s going to win. We’ve been able to do that this year. Every race is going to be different, and we’re going to have to push every weekend. Everyone here is super fast, so it’s going to be a little bit of luck, a lot of good driving, and a lot of hard work from the team. That’s what we’ve been able to do the last two rounds, so let’s hope the rest go the same!”
Gustavo Yacaman, #4 AF Racing: “Any weekend I can, I’d love to come back! It was a great experience. Running these cars and running in the dirt was a completely new experience for me, and it took some time for me to figure out because I’m used to high downforce cars. It was quite an experience, and hopefully I’ll be back soon.”
FAST FACTS: Key statistics from Red Bull GRC Louisville:
- Christian Brooks took the first victory of his GRC Lites career in his 13th official start. It was the first win of the season for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which took five victories in 2016.
- Conner Martell earned his second podium in a row and third of the past five races by finishing second.
- Gustavo Yacaman earned his first career GRC Lites pole and podium in his first-ever rallycross start. It was AF Racing’s first podium finish since August 2016.
- Both CORE autosport drivers won heats in the same event for the first time. Jon Bennett earned his first career heat victory in Heat 2A, while Colin Braun took the win in Heat 2C. Bennett’s fifth place finish in the final was also a career best.
- Cole Keatts earned his best finish of the season by placing seventh.
- Conner Martell, 140
- Christian Brooks, 135
- Colin Braun, 118
- Cyril Raymond, 114
- Jon Bennett, 99
- James Rimmer, 98
- Travis PeCoy, 88
- Alex Keyes, 79
- Alejandro Fernandez, 70
- Cole Keatts, 65
- Gustavo Yacaman, 60
- Burt Jenner, 16
Photo credit: Louis Yio