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David Binks: “We Had A Hell Of A Weekend In Vegas”

Image via Olsbergs MSE Facebook

Olsbergs MSE driver David Binks had somewhat of a breakout weekend in the Global Rallycross Championship race at New Hampshire in July, running up at the front of the pack all weekend until a driveshaft broke in the final. He had been hoping to build off that momentum in Las Vegas with the No. 17 eBay Motors/RePlay XD Ford Fiesta, but unfortunately a series of mechanical failures plagued him all weekend. For the first time all season, Binks failed to make it to the final round, finishing a disappointing 14th.

Now eighth in points, Binks is nonetheless optimistic about his chances going into the GRC season finale at SEMA on October 30. Mathematically, he can still finish as high as third in the championship, as OMSE teammates Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan attempt to settle the title among themselves. On Wednesday, Binks talked to us about the struggles in Vegas, the fun ahead at SEMA, and if all goes well, doing it all again next year:

Your heat race got off to a bit of a strange start, as two different drivers jumped the start on separate occasions. But the second time, you still went. What was going through your mind as drivers kept jumping?

Well it was a bit of a strange one, you know? At the drivers’ briefing in the morning, they said if there’s a false start this weekend, i.e. at Vegas, the drivers can go, and the driver who was deemed to jump the start would get a 30 second time penalty. The first time Andreas jumped the start, and pretty much everybody went. He did jump the start, he should have gotten a time penalty and the race should have continued. Obviously, they red flagged it and brought us all back on the grid.

Image via Olsbergs MSE Facebook

We lined up again, Andreas moved back, and then Rhys jumped the start by quite a margin, but he hit the brakes. Then the lights changed green. So I went again because at the end of the day, if the rest of them went, and I finally decided not to go, and they decided not to bring it back as a red flag, you’ve still got to make that start. And we’re so tuned up, watching those lights, and even though the other car moved, I go on the green. And that’s why I took the start.

Once you finally got going, you had a bit of an off in the banked dirt turn—what happened there?

That was the third start of the heat, and by then the tires were getting sticky. You’ve got to give it a bit more revs, slip the clutch a little more to give it the perfect start. We’d already nailed the other two starts—when Andreas jumped the start, we were pushing him in there on the first one, really right on his bumper, and the second start was another good start. The car launched well. It was critical that I wanted to get that third start and beat Ken (Block) into the first corner. We got a good start, I carried a little bit much speed into the corner and it understeered a little bit too wide! I didn’t get it turned enough on the dirt and ran a bit wide, allowed the other two cars to get back on the inside. It was a schoolboy error, really.

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

What happened to cause your car to spin out later in the heat?

When the car spun out? The car broke! We had a hell of a weekend. There was a driveshaft broke in practice, there was a driveshaft broke on the third lap of qualifying, there was a driveshaft that broke in the first heat, so that’s why we didn’t finish the heat. The driveshaft broke for the third time of the weekend.

Jeez, I wish I had more nice things to ask you about during this weekend!

I was tempted not to do the interview, because I said to you in the last one ‘it’s about time I had some good luck.’ We didn’t have any luck whatsoever in Vegas! (laughs)

I asked you if you thought you could take a podium at New Hampshire too. Am I a jinx or something?

(laughs) Unfortunately the car let me down in Vegas. We went out, we tested the cars prior to Vegas and the car ran really strong. The times were good, I was really upbeat about going in the event. Then in the practice sessions we had a recurring problem, which is actually what happened in New Hampshire—we broke an outer shaft. The guys changed it, we went back out for qualifying.

The first lap was a decent time, the second lap was getting on the pace, and my third lap, the splits were on speed with the fast boys in our team. And on the second split as we went through the chicane and came over the tabletop, as it landed, just it was gone, no drive again. I had to three-wheel it down onto the jump. That was going to be my quick lap, it was probably going to put us in the top five, six. So qualifying was terrible. The guys repaired it, they assured me they’d solved the problem of why we kept breaking the same part on the car.

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

We went out in that first heat, the qualifying heat, and when I came over the big jump that time, I was reeling back in on Rhys and Andreas and catching them back up. And when I took the gap jump, we landed and there was a moment where I just felt like something didn’t feel right as it landed. I went up the gears and everything felt good, so I kept it full throttle down the straight. I hit the brakes for the bottom corner, went down to second gear, went back on the throttle and there was just nothing there. The engine just revved up and the car spun around and hit the tires.

I tried to pull away again and that was it, the drive was gone, and this time the inner shaft had gone. I think it was the accumulation of the two outer ends of the shaft going that, maybe they should have changed the full shaft. But that’s one of those things in the time restraints you’ve got. The boys did a good job, got me back out every time. But unfortunately, the car broke again and that was what sent us into the last chance qualifier.

The good news is that Las Vegas doesn’t count for you in the championship right now, so it doesn’t hurt your previous score. You weren’t a big fan of the dropped race last time we talked, but does this race change your mind?

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

It depends how the last race goes! In Britain and Europe we’ve always sort of had a drop score, but obviously it’s only come into the Global championship quite a way through it, it’s actually been made public that there is one. Like I said, the first time I found out about it was talking to you. We only got three points in Vegas. In the last chance, I made a good start, but I had nowhere really to go and ended up in a bit of contact. I apologized to Dave (Mirra) afterwards, that’s not my driving style and I was a bit upset with myself for missing my braking point and hitting the back of Dave. But we had a puncture, the first time all year we’ve had a puncture on the car. So to be able to walk away from Vegas and only have to drop those three points is probably a bit of a godsend for me. It doesn’t take us out of the fight completely to get a good strong top five finish at the end of the year, maybe a little bit higher. It’s going to be tough, but if we get a good result we can still make it up the points a bit.

Looking forward to SEMA, have you had a look at the new track layout? What can you tell us about it?

I’ve seen a rough outline of the track and what’s coming, and it sounds interesting. The guys, each time we’ve come to a new circuit, the teams have worked from the last event and made the next one better. I really think this one’s going to be great. SMI aren’t involved with this one, I don’t think, but they’ve done a great job all year. This one’s going to be a bit more true rallycross, a bit more dirt, so I think it’s going to be good. It’s going to suit our car and our driving, and I’m really excited about getting out there.

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

You’re going to have a new teammate this weekend at Olsbergs MSE—have you given any thought to the new driver on the grid?

I don’t know that we can rely on team tactics, it’s each driver for himself. Within the team, yeah, but I’m going out to prove that we can get that car up there. We’ve been sort of around the edges of it all season. We didn’t have the luck or the car at Vegas, and I’m not going to finish this championship on a low. I want to walk away from this year with people actually knowing I can do this and getting the results for eBay that they deserve.

You’ve been doing a lot for eBay Motors over the course of the year—I know you’ve been writing a blog for them, for one. Will you be doing any appearances for them at SEMA?

eBay’s going to be at SEMA and doing some great stuff, we’re just busy working those details out now. I’m really excited, it’s the first time I’ve been to the show. This year’s been great, I sort of had to learn everything we’re doing this year, the activation and the PR stuff, it’s totally new to me as well as driving at this level. I’m pleased to hear that we’re doing okay! We’re always trying to do better in that as well, and hopefully we can do some great stuff at SEMA and rolling on through the winter and into next season.

Image via Olsbergs MSE Facebook

Finally, speaking of next season, you mentioned the last time we talked that you were hoping to have a better idea of your 2013 plans sometime very soon. Have you been involved in those discussions yet?

Not 100%. I do want to be back in GRC next year, I do want to be back in a competitive car and hopefully the Ford, and my ultimate Christmas wish would be to be in the eBay Motors Ford Fiesta again next year. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get that pulled together for them, and I hope I can get a good result for the team at the end of the season at this last race. That should hopefully make things happen. I’ve enjoyed it so much this year, with the team, working with eBay Motors, working with OMSE and RePlay, and all these different guys that have made this happen. It’s been such a learning year, such an exciting year, we’re getting our head around it now where we should get the results. We proved we can keep the car up there. We need that final podium, it would be ideal to finish the year off. I’d like to think that everybody’s enjoyed working with me and we can pull it all together for next season and come out with a good eBay Motors Fiesta backed by RePlayXD and see where we end up.

– Chris Leone

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  1. […] all season. “We didn’t have any luck whatsoever in Vegas!” he exclaimed in our last interview, and such was the case; for the first time all year, he failed to make it to the main event at Las […]

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