George Megennis demonstrated his potential as the United States of America’s next big hope in rallycross by winning his first ever Nitro Rallycross race weekend, crossing the line in first place in the second round of a double-header at Utah Motorsports Campus.
A dominant lights-to-flag victory in Megennis’ heat race in round two gave him pole position for the all-important final, where he engaged in a tooth-and-nail battle with Martin Enlund for the win.
After reaching the final in his first ever car race at the RallyX Nordic round at Arvika, Megennis followed up on his prodigious drive in Sweden with an equally impressive US debut in Salt Lake City.
Victory in his heat race on Saturday banked Megennis pole position for the round two final, which he used to great effect.
While Supercar Lites rival Martin Enlund got a slightly better drive off the grid as the lights went green, smart positioning heading through turn one ensured Megennis held the lead in the opening exchanges. As much as Enlund tried to find a way past in the opening laps. Megennis was simply too strong and defensively attuned to risk losing the lead.
Round one on Friday wasn’t quite as fruitful an endeavour. A tough run to the final meant he lined up near the back of the grid and while he certainly got stuck in and fought to move up the order, two punctures on the first lap stunted his progress.
There was a dramatic moment soon after over the tabletop jump where Megennis went on two wheels but the moment while running on those punctures. But showing his excellent car control, Megennis landed the car back on four wheels and continued on before parking up for safety.
After two rounds Megennis is already in title contention, a mere 10 points off dual championship leaders Casper Jansson and Enlund. And their battle resumes in only one week, as the series moves on to Minnesota to race at a brand new rallycross track – ERX Motor Park in Minneapolis.
“I felt quick the entire weekend! The key to winning on Saturday was a mix of speed and caution; I focused on ensuring we didn’t pick up any punctures or damage in the berms and that consistency paid off. You can’t really see them coming so you’ve just got to be patient through there and go flat out everywhere else.
“I came here hoping to place in the top five. I’d achieved that kind of speed back in Arvika for my rallycross debut and a lot of those guys are here for NRX NEXT, so it felt like a sensible aim. But as soon as I went out for practice and saw the speed I had, I felt like a podium finish was realistic. Winning my heat race to grab pole and then fending off Enlund at the start meant I could try and get my head down and put in some good laps to extend my lead over him. Enlund kept me on my toes but we got the job done.
“Eric Färén was a huge help as ever, giving me great calls over the radio and keeping the car running nicely. A big thanks to DirtFish for coming onboard for my NRX campaign too and of course the Hansens for their help throughout the weekend – it was an amazing experience to work so closely with Timmy and Kevin, sharing information between us on track conditions and so forth. I was the only NRX NEXT car in the field for #YellowSquad but it still felt like I had teammates. A huge thanks to Eric, Kim, Ronny, Kevin, and the entire Hansen Motorsport family for all of the support and for a great weekend.”
“George’s determination to come back from the disappointment on Friday was truly amazing. The speed he’s shown, the ability to soak up pressure while leading in the final and winning his third ever rallycross round shows we’ve got a real star of the future in our hands. I’m so happy for him.
“It’s also a great credit to all the guys that keep #YellowSquad running. This is their first event outside Europe and they’ve pulled off a winning start to life in the States. We’re finding working with George really straightforward and productive so we can’t wait to see what we can manage in Minneapolis next weekend.”