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“Drop” Scores Set Up GRC Championship Battle Between Rockstar Teammates

Image via Olsbergs MSE Facebook

Through five races of the Global Rallycross Championship season, Tanner Foust’s 16-point lead over Olsbergs MSE teammate Brian Deegan may seem like an insurmountable lead to overcome. In effect, it is—for Deegan to steal the championship from Foust, he would have to win October 30’s round at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, while Foust would have to finish 12th or worse, depending on bonus points.

Luckily for Deegan, and for the GRC, that won’t be the case. As drivers are allowed to drop their worst scores of the season, and as the GRC begins to factor those scores into the championship table after the fifth round, Foust’s points total has shrunk from 83 to 72, and his lead from 16 to only six, meaning that he and Deegan will both enter the final round of the championship with a mathematical chance at winning the title.

After dropping each driver’s worst score, here are the top 15 drivers in the current championship table:

  1. Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, 72 points (drop: X Games, 11 points)
  2. Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, 66 (Charlotte, 1)
  3. Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, 50 points (Las Vegas, 5)
  4. Ken Block, #43 Ford, 49 (Charlotte, 2)
  5. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai, 48 (New Hampshire, 0)
  6. Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, 46 (X Games, 5)
  7. Marcus Gronholm, #3 Ford, 43 (X Games/New Hampshire/Las Vegas, 0)
  8. David Binks, #17 Ford, 42 (Las Vegas, 3)
  9. Travis Pastrana, #199 Dodge, 40 (X Games, 1)
  10. Andy Scott, #26 Saab, 38 (Las Vegas, 0)
  11. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru, 35 (New Hampshire, 4)
  12. Liam Doran, #33 Citroen, 27 (Charlotte/Las Vegas, 0)
  13. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru, 25 (Texas, 3)
  14. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru, 24 (X Games, 2)
  15. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 Ford, 21 (Texas/X Games/New Hampshire, 0)

Image via Olsbergs MSE Facebook

In the recalculated standings, Foust suffers the most by far. No other driver has had to drop more than five points from their score, while he gives up 11 points scored in a sixth place finish at X Games.

Deegan’s worst round came at Charlotte, where he finished a disappointing 16th due to mechanical failure, but also earned a bonus point for winning the first of two heats. In another stroke of luck for the Metal Mulisha founder, bonus points are immune from the drop, meaning that he gets to keep the heat win in the standings while dropping the poor overall finish. No other driver is affected by the rule.

On the other hand, Rhys Millen’s decision to skip New Hampshire no longer cripples him in the standings, as he maintains fifth place and only ranks two points behind Samuel Hubinette in third. In fact, any driver between third and ninth place in points could rank third overall at the end of the season with a strong SEMA finish and a little bit of help from the other drivers in the mix.

That list includes a lot of high profile drivers. For example, if seventh place Marcus Gronholm returns from injury at SEMA, a third win of the year would undoubtedly be a huge boost; meanwhile, if ninth place Travis Pastrana can shed the bad luck that has plagued him for most of the season, making up the 10-point difference shouldn’t be impossible. And if Ken Block manages to cap off a whirlwind year that has seen him take three North American rally victories and two top-10 finishes in World Rally Championship events with a rallycross win at SEMA, he’s guaranteed third place in GRC points.

– Chris Leone

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