Event>>tarmac Attack @ The X Games

Another early morning and another road trip. Today it was south on Interstate 5 and through some surprisingly light LA traffic to the Home Depot Center in Carson for X Games 15 – more specifically the rally portion of the event.

I just got back to the hotel after a day of shooting, so here's a few photos from the day's practice and qualifying action.

The premiere part of the X Games rally course is the dirt area inside the Home Depot Center itself, but today's action took place only on the tarmac outside. The course was interesting, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of shooting/viewing angles. This is typically the case with makeshift race courses in parking lots…

A photographer's course it might not be, but I'm still damn excited to be here covering this. This is actually my first time shooting any rally event, let alone one as big as the X Games.

Although there are just a couple of car brands represented, there's still an interesting mix of machines running against each other.  From the "classic'" GC8 Impreza of Piotr Wiktorczyk…

…to the factory-backed team of Ford Fiestas. These cars aren't even on sale in the USA yet!

You've got to get Ford a lot credit for their "Fiesta Movement" campaign. It's generated a lot of buzz about the soon-to-be released compact car from Europe.

The Fiestas also produce on the track. Kenny Brack had the day's fastest time during seeding runs, with 57 seconds flat.

Finishing just behind with a 57.39 was Tanner Foust, also in a Ford Fiesta. Because of his finish last year, Tanner has already earned himself a pass through the first round of competition on Sunday.

The same goes for Travis Pastrana in his Impreza, who had the day's third fastest time with a 58.05.

The X Games rally wouldn't be complete without Ken Block, who's out to prove that he can do more than fancy internet videos.

Ken's also pre-seeded, but he still delivered a solid 59.76 second run – shredding his four BFG's in the process. Watching these cars on the tarmac is interesting. There's a back and forth mix of heavy understeer and heavy oversteer – all of it very smokey.

Just after I took this photo Matt Johnson's WRX had some hard contact with the wall. It'll take some serious work to have the car ready for Sunday's competition.

Not to be forgotten are the Mitsubishi teams, lead by Andrew Comrie Picard in the NOS Energy Drink car.

Expect to see some behind the scenes action with the NOS team later on.

Joining Tanner Foust, Ken Block, and Travis Pastrana on the pre-seeded list is Dave Mirra, who's also driving a Monster Energy Drink Impreza.

With all the action going on at the Home Depot Center, I couldn't help enjoying some of the other extreme sports happening next to the rally course. Can't get distracted…must focus on cars…

I'll be back later with more coverage from the X Games 15 rally.

-Mike Garrett



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Those Fiestas definitely seem to have an advantage over the other cars... I hear they are still running approx. 50lbs of boost but through a 40mm restrictor instead of a normal 34... I think Tanner might take the gold this year! That would be an awesome thing for Ford, to show up all of a sudden and smoke the factory backed Scoobies in their own turf, especially if that MTX stunt Travis botched affects his driving on Sunday.... On another note, I kinda wanted d ACP used an Evo X instead of last year's Evo IX.....


Was this televised?


Comrie-Picard had his Evo X on display in the pits. The Fiestas were surprisingly SEXY, but what car doesn't look good with huge fenders and rear mounted radiators?

BTW Mike, it was awesome to meet you and I was able to finagle my way into the pits without a credential, FTW


Fiesta Movement, ahh so it was a factory backed adertisement I saw rolling on the freeway today. Car looks good in person atleast.

Pics and action look awesome!


RE: SubaRUDE. If you think Travis' little spill on Friday was enough to rattle him enough to effect him for Sundays race, I think you seriously underestimate the determination and will this guy has to succeed at anything he does. In 2004 he knocked himself out in freestyle giving him serious concussion and a black eye and still backed up to ride in best trick the next day. He hates to lose and is a competitor of the highest sort and although he didn't win this year you can guarantee he'll be back to try again next year.


If only they made a game with this kinda driving in... oh wait.. they do.. check out the DiRT 2 stickers on Ken, Travis and Dave's cars =)


"factory backed advertisement" - good term for this farce. The Fiesta that we'll actually get will be a FWD turd that no enthusiast will buy. The fiestas from this race were custom-built "kit cars", with drivetrains that won't ever be sold to joe public. It would be almost impossible for anyone (ok, maybe Rado could do it) to duplicate. Subaru and Mitsubishi cars, on the other hand, are production chassis with changes possible for a rally fan. There WERE rules in rally previously, but they were changed when Ford and Peugeot realized they were better at making race cars than production cars. Ford should stay out of rally, unless they give us a car we can actually buy.