The Ford Fiesta debut at the X Games was memorable as Kenny Brack and Tanner Foust powered their production based Fiesta rally cars to the top of the speed charts in seeding for Sunday's X Games 15 Rally Competition. Ten-time X Games medalist Brian Deegan driving in his first X Games rally event was fourth overall, a mere six-hundredths of a second behind his arch rival and 2008 X Games rally champion Travis Pastrana, who was third.
Brack, the 1999 Indy 500 winner, and Foust were the only drivers to break into the 57-second barrier on the all asphalt portion of the rally course. Brack topped all drivers with a lap of 57.006-seconds while Foust posted a lap of 57.396-seconds.
"It was a good run," said Brack who will face 12th seeded Jimmy Keeney in the first round of eliminations. "It was tough because the track we ran in qualifying was the track I didn't get to run on Wednesday because of a mechanical problem. I only had one lap on that track during the practice this morning. The Fiesta ran fantastic. I think the package of the Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta with BFGoodrich tires is obviously a very good combination. Sunday will be totally different because they will add the gravel section to the course. There will be a couple of sections going from gravel to asphalt and actually to cement where it will be extremely slick and we hope that we get a practice run on the entire course on Sunday morning. Of course we have the big jump that I have never done before, so who know this might turn out to be the easy part."
Tanner Foust posted the second quickest time on Friday, but as a top-four finisher from last year he already has a first round bye in hand.
"That was a pretty successful qualifying effort," said Foust. "Andreas Eriksson's [Olsbergs MSE team manager] strategy with tires, the Fiesta and the method that the ROCKSTAR and Olsbergs team go about setting up for runs that that count, has been a great learning experience for me. It has really paid off. Of course Kenny showed his true colors at the very end as he comes in P1 in the qualifying which is great and now I am going to take him into the drivers lounge and figure out what kind of suspension changes he has made over the last two days. I saw Kenny's lines on video and they were perfect. I am still coming to grips with the car. I knew that the Fiesta would be good, but I thought it might be difficult to apply the Fiesta to the X Games track, but these cars are incredibly capable machines. The cars that the Fiesta is going against aren't regular Subaru's and Mitsubishi's, but they are quarter-million dollar rally cars that have been used over the years and tailored by very professional teams just for this purpose. So the fact that these Fiesta's are able to just be thrown in and in basically two days be set up to be competitive and even take the top two qualifying spots, that really says a lot for the Fiesta platform itself and that is promising for us this weekend."
Brian Deegan has won ten X Games medals in his action sports career, but he has faced a huge challenge in 2009 as a rookie in the rally class at X Games 15. Deegan showed his championship pedigree in qualifying by bringing his Ford Fiesta in fourth overall.
"Actually in the end I did better than I expected," said Deegan. "Once I got in there I felt real comfortable driving the Fiesta and I drove at about 75-percent because I just didn't want to mess up. I think I still have some more for the main event. I just wanted to beat [Travis] Pastrana, that's my goal. That has always been my goal since I started X Games and we have had this battle since Day 1. This is really my first real rally event and I had to work my way into this and fortunately I ended up on the best team here with ROCKSTAR, Olsbergs and Ford and in the end I think it will be the advantage I need. I'll pour it on a little bit in the dirt section where I'll be at home more because I race trucks on dirt and ride dirt bikes so I am looking forward to that section."
The three Fiestas' will sit quietly in their pits on Saturday, which is a down day in X Games Rally Competition. Saturday night, following the Motocross finals, the Home Depot Center will be converted to the rally finals set-up.
The first round of eliminations will follow a brief practice on Sunday morning where Kenny Brack will be the top-seed in Round One and Brian Deegan the second seed. Tanner Foust and the other top-four finishers from 2008 will meet the first round elimination winners.
X Games 15 Rally Competition will be seen live on ABC Sunday, August 2 from 3:00 - 6:00 pm Eastern.