• Aug 1, 2010
X Games 16 SuperRally - Click above for high-res image gallery

Race day for the X Games rally car action started out much like the practice sessions had begun the day before - with plenty of frustration. The drivers finally figured out how to deal with the steep drop-off in the dirt portion of the track that led back into the L.A. Coliseum, but a new challenge presented itself. The course layout for the rally racing portion of the event was designed with some very tight turns. So tight, in fact, that after a few practice laps only a handful of drivers could actually make it around the course without having to execute a three-point turn.

Much of the morning saw drivers working with course officials to create a course that the cars could actually drive on. After a few different configurations were tried, one was found, but at that point there wasn't any time left for practice. Essentially, the drivers would be competing on a course that they had never driven on. Would that result in excitement, chaos or both? Follow the jump to find out.




Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

Knockout eliminations started out with a pair of Subarus driven by Dave Mirra and Chris Duplessis. The pair tore off the starting line, kicking up dust and rocks as they slid their way in and out of the stadium. Things looked to be going smoothly, and it seemed as though the problems with the race course had been solved. Then the red flags came out. Apparently, Duplessis took a wrong turn in the course, giving the win automatically to Mirra. His mistake wouldn't be the last of the day. Over the next several races, driver after driver would miss a turn, drawing out the red flags and ending each race prematurely. Whether it was unfamiliarity with the complex course or the massive amount of dust that was kicked up, many drivers just couldn't seem to figure out which way to go. "You make your own dust cloud and get lost, so you need to find your way," said Tanner Foust after the event. It was undoubtedly frustrating for the drivers, and perhaps more importantly, it was disappointing for the fans.

The lack of checkered flags brought about some unpredictable results. Ken Block, piloting a Ford Fiesta for the first time in the X Games, was knocked out in the first round by fellow Ford driver Brian Deegan. Last year's winner, Kenny Brack, and fan favorite Travis Pastrana both failed to get past the second round. It was a battle of Ford vs Mitsubishi in the semi-finals, with Tanner Foust paired with Antoine L'Estage and Brian Deegan matched up with Andrew Comrie-Picard. Both Fords ended up in the final, with Foust as the obvious favorite, having medaled the last three years. Unfortunately, like many of the previous match-ups, the race ended without a checkered flag when Deegan lost his way, handing Foust the win by default. Despite his second-ever gold medal, Foust showed obvious disappointment with how the race ended and even offered a do-over.



After the frustrations of rally car racing, expectations were low for the SuperRally event. The course layout was much simpler - essentially a lap around the arena that includes a simple loop outside the stadium - so everyone was hoping that the rally racing problems wouldn't repeat themselves. Since this was the debut of SuperRally at the X Games, no one really knew if it'd be a complete mess of wrecked rally cars or bring some much-needed excitement to the thousands of fans in attendance. The answer came half a lap into the first race.

SuperRally is awesome!

Three of the four drivers in the first heat - Dave Mirra, Andrew Comrie-Picard and Stephan Verdier - tore away from the starting line jockeying for position while Ken Block initially stalled his Fiesta and had to play catch-up. The wide-open course layout allowed the 500+ horsepower rally cars to really open it up, and the furious pace and side-by-side racing had the fans standing up and cheering for the first time all day. Plus, each driver had to take the jump at least once during the five-lap race, adding a new element of anticipation.



The Fiestas and Lancer Evolutions once again proved that they were fastest on course in the qualifying heats, although Travis Pastrana was unable to properly represent Subaru due to engine troubles. Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan and Stephan Verdier claimed their place in the final by finishing first in their qualifying runs, while Sam Hubinette, Rim Rooney, Andrew Comrie-Picard and Ken Block all earned a chance to fight for the final spot in the "last chance qualifer" race. Block took the early lead in his Fiesta with the Mitsubishi teammates of ACP and Hubinette not far behind. Block looked like the sure winner, but on the last lap his transmission failed, causing ACP to spin out behind him and leaving Hubinette to cruise into a spot in the finals.

The last race of the night began with the two Fiestas battling it out for the lead. Brian Deegan launched off the line just ahead of Tanner Foust, but Foust managed to muscle his way even and got the inside line going into the first turn. Tanner kept the lead from there to the finish, followed by Deegan for the same 1-2 result as the first event of the day. Hubinette, despite being the rookie of the bunch, captured third place for a debut medal. After the race was over, the drivers celebrated with donuts, launching off the jump, and causing general mayhem on the dirt course. It was obvious which event the drivers and fans enjoyed the most. "Door-to-door, I like racing the four cars, but even when you say you don't have a favorite kid, you always do. And SuperRally is definitely my favorite," Foust said after being awarded his second gold of the day.



Overal,l it was a day of highs and lows for the rally cars of X Games 16. The new venue provided myriad problems that nearly ruined the event for drivers and spectators alike. If rally racing is going to make a return to the L.A. Coliseum, then changes will be a must. Adjustments will need to be made to the course, drivers will need more practice time on the actual race route, and perhaps co-drivers could be used to help navigate. One thing's for sure, though: Bring back SuperRally. It was by far the most exciting event, and it'll be the one sure thing we look forward to next year. Missed the action? You can see the final SuperRally race in the video below. Enjoy!






Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Some of those pictures make good desktop backgrounds, especially as they're all HQ.
      • 4 Years Ago
      .
      • 4 Years Ago
      Debacle Accomplished

      The funny part is Mickey Thompson figured out how to run trophy trucks in the Coliseum decades ago.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not much crowd. Original course designed by folks who don't understand how much room a car needs...this isn't premier motorsport!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I cant take the X Games seriously. The whole thing is just an exhibition to me. Its just for show, guys doing tricks. Its cool to watch but thats all.
      How one can get graded and placed is beyond me. Its incredibly boring to watch the same thing over and over again.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Modern rally cars (WRC) don't have 500+ horsepower. Engine size + turbo inlet restrictor limit the cars to 300hp - 320hp (FIA regulation). Their torque is monstrous but unless these machines are "X-games special rally cars" your information is wrong. In fact, you're estimate is closer to double the actual power. I'm a fan of the blog but please check your facts and correct me if i'm wrong.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Mitsubishi's were dyno'd at a friend's shop and they were putting down 500-530 whp, so the Fiesta's didn't have that big of a power advantage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Congrats you have no idea what you're talking about. The Fiesta's are rallycross spec and have well over 500hp. The Evo's and Subaru's all had extra hp over the spec they normally ran in the Rally America Spec. No one really gave a figure but I believe they were just under 500hp since the Fiesta's still had a power advantage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        These cars are built to rallycross spec, not WRC, so they're running about 500hp.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for the clarification. I assumed that the car's would be the same as WRC spec since that the world's premier rally series. Guess I was wrong....
        • 4 Years Ago
        FIA rallycross casr typically have over 500HP. They don't use the same rules as WRC. That being said, I have no idea what rules they use for X-games.
      • 4 Years Ago
      All of the Xgames, not just this event, were a mess this year. SuperRally just brought it all out into the open as their amateur camera work was even more noticeable during this event. The company hired to film had been missing key shots all weekend long but when they showed up for this one, it was like the director's kid was running the controls.

      Then, they finally do get a good event going and they waive the flag early on the final? Come on guys, this isn't an autocross events at a local motoring club...

      The organizers of this event need to leave California. Every single event had a low attendance and some of the fringe competitions barely had anyone in the seats. If they tried bringing the Xgames back to the east coast, attendance would be much higher. I would also suggest hiring a new company to film next year.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I had better courses to play on in the old strip mines back home.

      Still, nice to see the Fiestas going well.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, I liked it because I LOVE rally. But the track was horrible. That part that was just outside the arena ruined it.

      The Super Rally was awesome, and was the savior of the whole thing. But I was really bummed to see Block have mechanical issues. Would have been awesome to see ford go 1, 2, 3.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Did the writer of this article actually attend the event?? Spelled "Deegan" wrong, there were only a few hundred people in the stands not "thousands" and botched the part where he said Duplessis's mistake was not the "first of the day" when he meant to say that it would not be the last of the day...The article was about as well written as the Rally Racing was entertaining, meaning , not at all...
        • 4 Years Ago
        There were over 32,000 people there on Saturday. Sounds like thousands to me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Drew,

        I called you out because you don't have your facts correct as is evidenced by what I "assume" are your own pictures and what everyone observed on TV. Even within a 100,000 seat stadium 30+K attendees would equate to only 1 out of every 3 seats being filled...from what was seen on TV and in your (assumed) pictures, the are lucky if they filled 1 in every 10 seats. While my claim of a "hundreds" of people watching may be a bit of hyperbole, it stands as a more accurate comment than your (by way of quoting ESPN/Rally America figures) claim of 32,000.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Drew,

        Don't just quote the ESPN figures...look at those stands...If you were there, which I'm not convinced you were, then you KNOW there weren't 32,000 people there----MAYBE there were 32,000 people there for all of the events, all day long, but that doesn't even come close to properly estimating how many people were actually AT the Rally/SuperRally event watching it live. Though given how bad the events looked (even SuperRally sucked compared to what it SHOULD have been) maybe its a good thing more people DIDN'T see it. Regardless Drew, you should do better than this....
      • 4 Years Ago
      This years X games were awful all around. Not only was the rally but the whole event. Alot of the camera work was bad the Commentator's were just as bad. I think they were more focused on the 3d aspect of it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So let me get this straight they designed a course but they didnt test it out themselves before approving it to be laid out? Whoever the course designer was be it a person or a organization should be fired.
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