IN BRIEF: Defending GRC Lites champion Oliver Eriksson returned to form after a disappointing season opener in Phoenix, winning the GRC Lites round in Dallas after a cunning pass of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Tanner Whitten. Lites rookie and new points leader Cabot Bigham would get by his DRR teammate for second, but Whitten would retain third to complete the podium.
HEAT RECAPS: Tanner Whitten and Oliver Eriksson qualified first and second and held their respective advantages throughout the heats, with both drivers winning both of their heat races. After an incident involving Nur Ali and Collete Davis forced a restart of the last chance qualifier, Phoenix race winners Conner Martell and Miki Weckstrom placed first and second, with Christian Brooks and Parker Chase earning the last two transfer spots to the final.
MAIN EVENT RECAP: Whitten got the jump off the line and managed to grab an early lead, but Eriksson remained a persistent force on his back bumper throughout the main event’s early stages. On the fifth lap of the race, Eriksson made his move: coming into turn 15, he turned one of the trickiest corners on the course into a passing zone and grabbed the lead for good.
Behind them, Brooks and Cabot Bigham were embroiled in their own fight for third, with Brooks claiming the spot on the same lap. But a perfectly executed Joker Lap propelled Bigham back into podium contention, in fact giving him the edge on Whitten for second place. They would cross the line in that order, with Brooks fourth and native Texans Harry Gottsacker and Parker Chase in fifth and sixth.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: The results from Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Dallas, the third round of the 2016 GRC Lites season:
Oliver Eriksson, #16 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
Cabot Bigham, #2 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Tanner Whitten, #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Christian Brooks, #44 AF Racing
Harry Gottsacker, #69 PMG Rallysport
Parker Chase, #19 PMG Rallysport
Alejandro Fernandez, #126 AF Racing
Conner Martell, #21 DirtFish Motorsports
Travis PeCoy, #3 AF Racing
Miki Weckstrom, #45 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
Cole Keatts, #53 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
Nur Ali, #42 Rhys Millen Racing
Collete Davis, #07 River Racing/Rhys Millen Racing
QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Dallas, the third round of the 2016 GRC Lites season:
Oliver Eriksson, #16 Olsbergs MSE X Forces: “I raced with Tanner last year and we raced together pretty well and clean. I just thought I could keep up with him, and in the gravel part I was a little bit quicker. So in the end I just tried to give it my all and keep my head up.”
Cabot Bigham, #2 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: “A lot of work came into this weekend, and the team did a really good job. Honestly I’m just so stoked to be on the podium right now. Being on that flatbed after practice, just trying to keep the momentum up and staying positive really worked into where I stand right now.”
Tanner Whitten, #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: “I think the team switch that we made from last year to this year makes all the difference in world. We’ve got a great group of road course oriented, the guys around us, and we got some good partners working with us this year that have given us a lot of support to be here for the limited schedule that we have taken on. Huge thanks to all of those guys—t’s been an awesome off-season getting to know everyone. We’re happy we could show our speed out here with our first outing.”
FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from Saturday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Dallas, the third round of the 2016 GRC Lites season:
Oliver Eriksson earned the fourth win of his GRC Lites career, and his first of the season, in Dallas on Saturday. Eriksson, the defending class champion, posted finishes of 10th and sixth in the Phoenix season opener.
Cabot Bigham posted his second consecutive runner-up finish to earn the points lead for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Bigham became the second rookie to lead the championship this year, behind Olsbergs MSE X Forces driver Miki Weckstrom.
In his season debut, Tanner Whitten posted a third place finish in the second Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car. Whitten and Alex Keyes have combined to score 121 points in DRR’s second entry, which would rank it third in the standings behind only Bigham and Conner Martell.
Harry Gottsacker (San Antonio) was the highest-finishing native Texan in the field, placing fifth, one spot ahead of PMG Rallysport teammate and New Braunfels native Parker Chase. Nur Ali of nearby Trophy Club placed 12th in his season debut for Rhys Millen Racing.
Only five drivers have competed in all three Lites main events so far this year: Bigham, Martell, Weckstrom, Brooks, and Eriksson.
UNOFFICIAL DRIVER POINTS:
Cabot Bigham, 145
Conner Martell, 122
Miki Weckstrom, 120
Christian Brooks, 105
Oliver Eriksson, 104
Alex Keyes, 71
Trenton Estep, 57
Collete Davis, 51
Tanner Whitten, 50
Harry Gottsacker, 46
Travis PeCoy, 42
Alejandro Fernandez, 35
Preston Murray, 33
Parker Chase, 27
Cole Keatts, 6
Nur Ali, 3
Photo credit: Louis Yio