This year’s X Games represents the eighth year of rally car competition at the famed action sports event, with Los Angeles playing host to the event each year. In that time, some of the greatest drivers in motorsport have chased the glory of a gold medal—but only a few have succeeded.
It was 2006 when rally events were first introduced to X Games Los Angeles, with the very first event taking place at the Home Depot Center. The event, a super special rally stage, featured drivers facing each other head-to-head in a mad dash to the finish. Travis Pastrana, already well-established in X Games competition as a freestyle motocross star, switched to cars and defeated former World Rally champion Colin McRae, after McRae rolled his car just short of the finish.
The early years of X Games rallying were dominated by Tanner Foust, who won gold in 2007, and Pastrana, who reclaimed the title in 2008. But the ever-expanding event drew interest from more and more faces from around the world of motorsports. Eventually, in 2009, X Games saw its first driver from another form of racing come in and take gold: Kenny Brack, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 champion, in his first race after retiring from IndyCar.
2010 saw a change of venue, with rally car racing heading to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the introduction of rallycross as a second event. Foust would defeat Brian Deegan in both races, with drifting star and stunt driver winning the bronze medal in rallycross.
In 2011, X Games Los Angeles became the season finale for the Global Rallycross season, a two-day event on the streets of Los Angeles that featured head-to-head competition one day and an eight-car rallycross final on the second. Liam Doran, competing in his first X Games, won the head-to-head finale over World Rally legend Marcus Gronholm, while Deegan would avenge his loss from the previous season and win gold in the rallycross finale. The next year, fellow World Rally legend Sebastien Loeb would dominate in his X Games debut, beating Ken Block and Deegan.
2013 will see Global Rallycross and X Games Los Angeles compete at Irwindale Speedway, the same venue that hosted the first-ever GRC race in 2011. Whoever wins the gold medal on Sunday will have the distinction of taking the last one from X Games Los Angeles—and closing out one of the most significant chapters in the sport’s history.
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