Global Rallycross Season Review: Nelson Piquet Jr.
After racing in everything from stock cars and trucks to Formula 1 cars, Nelson Piquet Jr. can easily call himself one of the world’s most versatile racers. But none of those cars can compare to his latest challenge: Global Rallycross.
Driving a Mitsubishi Evo for X Team Racing, Piquet made starts at Brazil, New Hampshire, Charlotte, and Las Vegas. The car was a fan favorite, but 2013 was a year of developing skills for Piquet, who proved at season’s end that he could contend for main event appearances.
The season opener at X Games Brazil may have been Piquet’s best chance to make it to the main event, as he qualified an impressive fourth in his rallycross debut in front of his native country’s fans. Unfortunately, a jump start and last chance qualifier appearance followed, and he couldn’t beat Patrik Sandell or Buddy Rice for a transfer spot.
An uninspiring performance at New Hampshire followed, as the team swapped Munich pilot Guiga Spinelli for Piquet and struggled to find speed. He also couldn’t get into a rhythm at Charlotte, as other commitments rendered him unable to appear at the track until race day; in his stead, Jarit Johnson was drafted to shake down the car.
Finally, everything appeared to come together in Las Vegas, as Piquet came out on the right side of a last chance qualifier battle with Sverre Isachsen. Unfortunately for Piquet, series officials judged him to have engaged in overly aggressive driving with the livid Norwegian, leading to a disqualification.
Any driver who makes it to racing’s upper echelons has an immense amount of talent, and both Piquet and his fans are well aware of that. 2013 was just a case of looking for the right combination of speed and luck, and only finding one or the other—an aberration given the Brazilian’s strong track record as a whole in his career.
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish (1, 3); QBA/QNIGAN.com (2)