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GRC Drivers, Teams Prepare To Tackle Pikes Peak

Image via Rhys Millen Racing Facebook

The Global Rallycross Championship won’t return to Pikes Peak International Raceway in 2012, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any GRC influence in Colorado this year. In fact, multiple GRC drivers and teams will take on the 12.42-mile Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this season.

Perhaps the biggest name involved is Rhys Millen, whose team will campaign a Hyundai Genesis sponsored by Pulse and Hankook Tires in the Time Attack class. Millen has taken nine career Pikes Peak class victories, including three consecutive 2WD Time Attack victories from 2007-09. Rhys’ father, Rod, took the class victory last year in a Genesis, setting a class record time of 11:04.912 that Rhys will hope to beat. Rhys finished second in last year’s event in the Unlimited class.

As for Unlimited, two teams with GRC links will take on that class this year, with the first led by longtime American rally competitor Jimmy Keeney. Keeney, who has previously competed at Pikes Peak in the Open Wheel class, will drive a brand new Chevrolet Colorado in this year’s event. So far, the longtime independent Subaru rally driver has only competed in one GRC round this year, failing to score any points at Texas.

Photo credit: Larry Chen; image via Liam Doran Facebook

2011 X Games gold medalist Liam Doran was originally scheduled to compete at Pikes Peak before wildfires delayed the event from July to this weekend. Doran elected to skip the event to continue challenging for the European Rallycross Championship title, so father Pat—himself one of Britain’s most successful rallycross drivers of all time—will take the helm of the Doran Motorsport Ford RS200 in the event. Doran’s car won the 2000 German Hillclimb Championship with driver Dieter Knuttel behind the wheel.

Other drivers with GRC associations have also tamed Pikes Peak. Per Eklund set a still-standing record of 11:21.580 in the Open class in 2000, and added an Unlimited class victory in 2002. Travis Pastrana (Group X, 2004), Tanner Foust (Production GT, 2005), and Stephan Verdier (Production GT, 2004; Open, 2005) have all scored class wins in various Rally divisions. Finally, Olsbergs MSE’s Marcus Gronholm and Andreas Eriksson both took on the mountain in Unlimited Ford Fiestas in 2009; Gronholm finished second in the class, while Eriksson failed to finish the run.

– Chris Leone

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