• Aug 1, 2011
Over the weekend, rally cars took over the streets of downtown Los Angeles to compete in X Games 17. The field of drivers was perhaps the most prestigious yet, with plenty of X Games veterans like Tanner Foust, Travis Pastrana and Brian Deegan facing tough new challengers in the form of Marcus Grönholm, two-time World Champion of the World Rally Championship series and European RallyCross veteran Liam Doran.

The new venue, the third in three years, provided an interesting setting to watch rally cars fly by – traffic whizzed by on the 110 Freeway just a block away – and for the drivers, it was a welcome change to last year's tight and confusing course at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The venue wasn't ideal for spectators, however, with much of the course hidden from view on the main grandstands. For members of the media such as ourselves, photographing the event was nearly impossible as well, with high fencing blocking nearly every good view.

Even so, the drives put on quite a show for those watching at home on television. With so many talented drivers in so many fast cars, entertaining matchups were inevitable. Click through the jump to read more and watch the wacky action in some X Games-provided videos.
Rally Car Racing, Day 1

Like last year, the two days were split into separate events - Rally Car Racing, pitting two drivers head-to-head, and RallyCross, featuring four or more drivers at the same time. Rally Car Racing kicked off day one, with the usual suspects knocking off the competition in the early rounds. Defending champion Tanner Foust cruised to the semifinals, joined by fellow Ford driver Marcus Grönholm. David Higgins of recent Mt. Washington fame and his Subaru also made it to the semifinals by beating out Rhys Millen and Dave Mirra, as did Liam Doran in his Monster Energy-clad Citroën C4.

In the semifinals Foust was paired up with Doran, while Grönholm was matched with Higgins. Many expected to see Foust move on, perhaps against teammate Grönholm, but it was Doran that claimed his place in the final two. The British driver beat Foust to the first turn and comfortably held the lead throughout, sending a strong message to the rest of the field. Grönholm moved on to the final as well, although not as easily as Doran. Higgins took an early lead, but Grönholm made up time and finished just ahead of the Subaru.



Just as with his race against Foust, Doran was undoubtedly the underdog in the best-of-three final against Grönholm. After all, the Fiestas had been consistently quick all day, especially in the hands of the always-capable Finn. Even so, Doran proved he was the one to beat, taking the lead early in both races and holding on fairly comfortable to take the victory.

"It felt amazing putting it all out there," said Doran after the race. "I went out and I started winning and when you get on a winning streak you go."

Higgins rounded out the medal winners, defeating Foust in the 3-4 race after Foust's car broke down just after the start.

You can watch highlights of the final race below.



RallyCross, Day 2

Last year X Games introduced SuperRally (renamed RallyCross for this year) and it was an instant success. Thankfully, the fender-to-fender (to-fender-to-fender) racing was brought back, and was once again the highlight of the weekend.

The big news at the start of the day was the return of Travis Pastrana to the drivers' lineup. It was initially thought that he would be absent from the race due to his broken foot and ankle that he suffered on the first day of X Games, but the Subaru team worked all weekend to transform his car to work around the injury. Come raceday, Pastrana was strapped into his Subaru, cast and all, using a hand-activated throttle. After a spin into a concrete barrier during practice, there was doubt whether he would be competitive at all, but no one could discredit the efforts of both team and driver.



Qualifying for the final race began with a series of four heats, with Foust, Deegan, Doran and Grönholm taking the top spots and claiming their places. Unlike last year, however, the additional would consist of eight cars instead of four, so another four heats were held to decide the final quartet of cars. Pastrana adapted to his hand throttle enough to earn a spot, and Dave Mirra, David Higgins and Rhys Millen filled out the rest of the field.

The final was was nearly an all-Ford front row, with Foust starting in the most desirable spot, front and inside, and Doran, Deegan and Grönholm filling out the other front positions. It seemed impossible that eight cars could make it through Turn One without incident, and that's exactly what happened. Doran got the jump on Foust at the start, with the two Citroëns edging past the Ford heading towards the initial right hander. Just before the turn, the two collided, with Foust's front end pushing Doran sideways as he entered the turn. Unfortunately for Doran, the spin landed him with a damaged car at the rear of the field, while Foust was able to fight on in the middle of the pack. Brian Deegan benefited the most, bipassing the collision ahead of him and moving into the first position.

As you might expect with eight cars on course, the chaos didn't end after the first turn. David Higgins, who landed in second place after the Doran-Foust incident, spun his Subaru in a tight spot, nearly causing a collision with Rhys Millen's Hyundai and taking them both out of contention. Shortly after, Dave Mirra spun in his Subaru, narrowly missing Travis Pastrana as he flew by. Higgins then spun again, smashing the rear of his Subaru into a wall and ending his race.



In the meantime, Deegan had somehow jetted away from the pack, with Foust and Grönholm following several seconds behind. Pastrana, who had been running at the back of the pack, benefited from the mishaps on course and somehow managed to slip into fourth place. A potential medal for the injured driver was still unlikely with Grönholm ahead of him, but on the last lap, the former WRC champ went wide, leaving the door open for Pastrana to slip into third place. It was not to be for Pastrana, however. With Grönholm on his tail, he overcooked it into one of the last corners, stuffing his Subaru's front end into a tire wall.

In the end, it was a surprisingly easy win for Deegen, who never looked back after taking the lead coming out of Turn One. "That was the highlight of my life! I've done a lot of things on a dirt bike and done a lot of things in a car, but nothing tops that moment of winning X Games in RallyCross," he said after the race. "I was thinking about beating Tanner all year, and luckily I got lucky off the start, but that's what it takes. Everything fell my way. I had to hold it together all race."

You can watch highlights of the RallyCross Finals below:



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      David
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Hey dude, what the hell is a Citroen?" "I think it's new type of monster energy drink"
      Carzzz
      • 3 Years Ago
      deegen is a classless tool. did you see that guy when he won? he was like spoiled kid who just broke open the pinata. The only respectable drivers are foust, gronholm, doran, and higgins.
        MotorworldHype
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carzzz
        So because he was visibly happy about winning, just like ANY OTHER DRIVER WOULD BE IN EVERY MOTORSPORT EVER he is a "classless tool"? How do you figure that?
          Jason
          • 3 Years Ago
          @MotorworldHype
          Gonna have to side with Carzzz on this one. Standing on your car and celebrating is one thing...punching your roof in, cussing for no apparent reason on live TV, and flashing metal mullisha gang signs for 20 minutes is another.
          Carzzz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @MotorworldHype
          there is a way to celebrate a win amongst your competitors on camera, and there is a way not to. yea you can stand on top of your car after a win, but to stand on it for 5 minutes just bathing in photo lights doing slayer signs is silly. For 10 minutes it was "fuc yea, fuc this, fuc that, slayer dawg, hell yea, fuc yea." The network had to bleep every other word for like 10 minutes. The look on tanner's face was like, ok you're done. And why do you have have to stick your tongue out the whole time for the photo shoot like your a Kiss band member. the guy is a tool.
        Soxtober87
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carzzz
        Doran is respectful? Did you hear his post-race comments after beating Gronholm on saturday? "It was easy" he said, after beating tone of history's best rally drivers. Real respectful.
          Reid
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Soxtober87
          He's not respectful, but he is respectable, with regard to his talent behind the wheel. He is an unbelievable bastard, but that doesn't make him any less surgical around the track. He didn't "deserve" that win, but he did earn it.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carzzz
        He was celebrating. All drivers celebrate like he did. It's his 2nd only gold medal, also. So like him, I'd be celebrating like he was.
      Shiftright
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sweet! Present day Citroens on US soil!
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      We need more of this here in the US.
      Mark Stearns 
      • 3 Years Ago
      let's talk about the crazy power these race prepped cars make. sooo sick. are they running race gas to get to 600hp with all that boost? AB.... get on this.... I need to know more about these little monsters. Please do a feature on these cars. #crazyhp
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mark Stearns 
        What other type of fuel would they be using?
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      No Evos?
        mrdci
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        All of the Evos crashed out and Ken Block failed to qualify. He's only good at Hooning.
      Bryan South
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yet another horrible course layout at the Xgames. For the 1v1 races it was fine, but for a rallycross race it just plain sucked. Having that narrow part under the jump on the main track is just dumb. The main part of the track should never have a section that forces cars to go single file, especially when there is the possibility of there being an accident and no way for other cars to get around. A section of the track like that would have been fine for the joker lap. Another dumb thing was the entry to the Joker lap. The peel off to the joker lap shouldn't have been after that corner. A car just behind someone that was taking the joker lap was forced to slow down. Every year the track sucks and makes rally at Xgames more spectacle than serious race. The marshals also sucked. On two occasions they red flagged the race, but they did it after the cars came around and passed the crash. One of the races the cars passed the crash twice be fore it was red flagged. If you going to red flag a race to it right away. If they already passed by then just keep waving the yellow, because all the driver already know where the crashed car is and its fine to just keep going if the driver is not injured and out of the way or still seat belted in. The whole Travis Pastrana thing just show how much faster those "factory" cars are despite how well your driving.
        sumguy116
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bryan South
        Spot on. The whole track was just a mess, especially with 8 cars racing. Pretty much anyone that pulled ahead in the beginning without getting bumped by some one else was going to take it.
        MotorworldHype
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bryan South
        Are you forgetting that the cars actually have to MAKE THE JUMP? Don't you think it would be more dangerous to widen the gap of the jump only to have someone not make the distance and land on a car speeding by below or land in the path of an on coming car??
      Hada Cakraningrat
      • 3 Years Ago
      Go Marcus Gronholm !
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      wemmons
      • 3 Years Ago
      This whole race seemed like one big joke from the beginning. I'm legitimately surprised people are saying this was the most exciting event. It was more like an wanna-be clip from nitro circus (which is a show that I absolutely love), than a professional race. I thought I was watching a bunch of 12 year olds at a boardwalk gokart track.
        Jason
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wemmons
        Do a google search for European Rallycross...it's the jostling for position that makes it so exciting. Lift once to avoid a crash and you've basically lost the race. There's something to be said for an event where you have to give 110% for the full race...I'd hardly call them amateur.
      bobmarley
      • 3 Years Ago
      Brian Deegen is easily one of the worst drivers in the group and him winning is a good indicator of a poorly set up race...it might be entertaining to watch them bang around and crash a lot but seeing Deegen win discredits the entire race
      cashsixeight
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is crazy. It's like DIRT2 in real life. Mad props for promoting rally racing to the masses. Also, WAY TO GO FORD! And major thumbs down to the other "big three" who don't even have cars that can compete in this.
        Jdvm
        • 3 Years Ago
        @cashsixeight
        Yup because those are stock fiestas right of the assembly line. And while i love watching these events, this isnt real rally racing.
          cashsixeight
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jdvm
          You're dumb. No race car is ever stock, but unlike Nascar, these cars start as production cars, with normal glass, chassis, suspension, and are then converted to these machines. You know, like something you could kind of do yourself. But turning a Camry into a RWD V8 600hp stock car? Not going to happen.
          Frank W Zotynia Jr.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jdvm
          Ford needs to bring an AWD fiesta to the states. I love the wide body but its kind of lame how you cant purchase it in turbo awd trim from a dealer. I know these cars are far from stock but at least Subaru was using their stock 6 speed (which is a tank) and they come AWD from the factory.
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