DAVIS AIMS TO BUILD UPON HISTORY-MAKING GRC LITES DEBUT

As little as 72 hours before Red Bull Global Rallycross Media Day in April, Collete Davis didn’t have a ride lined up for the 2015 GRC Lites season. But in the short amount of time leading up to press day, Davis managed to put together a program with River Racing, secure the support of Bryan Herta Rallysport, and get up on stage at the Hotel Maya and introduce herself to the world of rallycross.

Turns out Davis has a knack for making things happen quickly. Not only did she manage to lead three laps in the season opener in Fort Lauderdale, the first of them came on the very first lap of her career in the first heat of the season. It marked the first time that a female driver had ever led a lap in either class in Red Bull GRC history.

“It was definitely a confidence booster for the rest of the season,” Davis said of Saturday’s historic moment. “Coming into the weekend with very limited seat time and so many unknowns, a big goal was simply to establish a baseline for where River Racing stands. I know I can hang with the guys and my goals are way larger than only lead laps in this series, but knowing we’re doing some glass ceiling shattering already is pretty cool.”

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After leading two laps in the last chance qualifier and making the main event, Davis’ race appeared to be cut short after contact with Miles Maroney pushed her off of the side of the ramp. But a heroic effort from the crew got her back on the grid in time for the restart.

“It was pretty surreal being flipped and suspended in the air, but my first thoughts were ‘how’s the car?  What’s the damage?’” she explained. “Then the team pulled off one of the most incredible feats.

“My mechanic Steve Burrows said, ‘You ok? There’s a chance we can get you back out there for the restart.’ As tons of people gathered around, Steve led the way and then the entire team came to the rescue. Crew from the other cars, ‪driver Patrik Sandell, even ‪BHRS team owners Bryan Herta and Sean Jones dropped everything and jumped in, duct tape and zip ties in hand.

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“No one could believe it when we rolled up for the restart. I think we jumped three spots on the start, but we had to pull off after two laps due to the doors flying open and almost off. It was still an epic comeback and says a lot about the incredible team.”

With 11 races left on the schedule, Davis will have plenty of time to make good on the promise she showed in Fort Lauderdale. With the benchmark established, the rest of the year will be about consistently improving and spending more time up front.

“Aside from the ramp incident, I’m beside myself with how amazing the weekend was,” she continued. “We exceeded expectations, having only had one full day in the car prior and my last official race being three years ago; but even more, the fans outpouring of support was amazing—so many people stopped by after the crash, just to make sure I was OK.

“I’m so incredibly grateful to River Racing for believing in me and giving me this opportunity to compete and grow as a driver. This is my first full season in any series, and I can’t articulate how excited I am to see how far we can take it this year.”

Photo credit: Larry Chen

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