Jul 26, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT
Ken Block picked up his first Red Bull Global Rallycross victory of the season in Charlotte, North Carolina after leading wire-to-wire in the final. The Hoonigan man celebrated with an exuberant spin of his No. 43 Ford Fiesta ST immediately after taking the checkered flag at start/finish.
“Oh man, I’m stoked,” Block said to NBCSN after his first win of the year. “That was a lot of work but I led almost every single lap of this event that I was in…It was a lot of fun and it was good to have a battle. Crazy, crazy day.”
Sverre Isachsen and championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr. picked up second and third place behind Block. Additionally, Piquet was also able to increase his edge in the standings to 46 points over Scott Speed, who finished fifth.
Block grabbed the Semifinal 1 holeshot from the front row and went on to the heat win as Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan followed him in second and third to advance directly to the final.
Meanwhile, championship contenders Piquet and Speed could not crack the Top 3 in the semifinal, forcing them to try their luck later in the Last Chance Qualifier.
Semifinal 2 started with Bucky Lasek, Washington D.C. winner Patrik Sandell, and Sverre Isachsen on the front row. But after Lasek and Isachsen leaped past Sandell for first and second coming into Turn 1, New York winner Tanner Foust got into the back of Sandell and sent him crashing into the water barriers.
Sandell suffered a broken driveshaft in the incident, which drew no penalty on Foust from race officials. The remaining five cars were gridded up for a restart, and in the rush to Turn 1, Foust himself hit the water barriers and help put a piece of it in the middle of the track.
On Lap 3, Joni Wiman got past Isachsen for the lead before the red flag came out again for Austin Dyne blocking up Turn 6 after he was apparently turned around by Foust.
The cars gridded up a second time for a four-lap dash that forced Wiman to start from his back row position. Foust once again made contact in Turn 6 – this time with Lasek – and took over the lead in his battered VW.
Foust held on for first in the heat despite missing a large part of the front end on his car. Wiman and Isachsen were able to get second and third to move into the final.
In the LCQ, Piquet and Speed did what they had to do by finishing first and second. Piquet was running fourth on Lap 3 of 4 but took a well-timed joker to go all the way into the lead past Speed, Dyne and Lasek.
Those four transferred to the main event, while teammates Rhys Millen and Emma Gilmour had their Saturday come to a close.
That left the 10-car final, which was only a few seconds old when the red flag came out for Piquet. He took the start from the third row but was squeezed into the aforementioned water barriers at Turn 1.
Piquet got back to the starting gate for the restart, but he and everybody else was left in the Carolina dust by Block, who quickly pulled away from the field.
Isachsen eventually settled a tight battle for second between himself, Wiman, and Speed. But Piquet once again showed great timing with the joker to pass both Wiman and Speed for third on Lap 8.
That would be enough to give him yet another podium finish behind Block and Isachsen.
Red Bull GRC will stage Round 6 of the season on August 23 at Daytona International Speedway. NBC will air the final live that day at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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