Global Rallycross Race Recap: The Dirt Track at Charlotte
IN BRIEF: Scott Speed won the battle, but Toomas Heikkinen won the war—while Speed took his second win of the year in the Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Heikkinen took home the 2013 Global Rallycross Driver’s Championship and $20,000 Sylvania Silverstar zXe Cup bonus.
HEAT RECAPS: Ken Block, once again, asserted his dominance in heat races by winning both 1A and 2A. Block’s nine heat victories are more than any other driver in GRC this year. Meanwhile, four other drivers—Travis Pastrana (1B), Tanner Foust (1C), Scott Speed (2B), and Brian Deegan (2C) also won heat races, though Dave Mirra could have easily won heat 2B if not for a jump start penalty that was later deemed incorrect. The LCQ was canceled after numerous accidents with Steve Arpin, Stephan Verdier, and Toomas Heikkinen in the three transfer spots.
MAIN EVENT RECAP: A major accident in the first pass through the fourth turn led to a red flag situation, as Scott Speed, Bucky Lasek, and Brian Deegan appeared to be the top three drivers in the field. Speed got the holeshot in the second attempted start as well, leading Deegan and Block.
Block’s right front tire came apart early in the event, dropping him down the order as he spun multiple times. Meanwhile, Heikkinen recovered from a series of unlucky breaks in his heat races and the final transfer spot of the LCQ to finish third. Deegan chased down Speed, closing in as the race progressed, but the X Games Brazil gold medalist still took the victory by just over three seconds.
RESULTS: The results from Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at The Dirt Track at Charlotte:
- Scott Speed, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
- Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Stephan Verdier, #4 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
- Steve Arpin, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
- Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross WRX STI
- Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
- Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross WRX STI
- Travis Pastrana, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
- Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Pat Moro, #59 PMR Motorsports Chevrolet Sonic
- Dave Mirra, #40 Prodrive MINI Countryman
- Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Bryce Menzies, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
- Nelson Piquet Jr., #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo
QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at The Dirt Track at Charlotte:
Toomas Heikkinen, Driver, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “It’s been a great year. Now we get the championship with the one point that we needed. But I’m still looking forward and want to win the last one. Of course I want to be on the podium still—that’s what I’m looking for, and that is our goal.”
Scott Speed, Driver, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta: “We were pretty solid all day. In these things, you can be fast—we were pretty fast at Bristol but we didn’t even make the final—so you’ve got to be lucky not to get in any crashes. We stayed out of trouble, got lucky, and were able to win again.”
Stephan Verdier, Driver, #4 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster: “I’m ecstatic, especially when I was last after lap one of the final. I stalled the car in the hairpin—I thought I was top three but then I was all the way last by a mile. Good wheels saved us, because everybody else kept getting flat tires, and we kept picking them off one at a time. The car is beat, Rhys is going to be so mad at me, but we got fourth! I think we have one body panel left. But we blew out a shock, and we had a transmission issue too. The boys worked hard today. But fourth place is awesome—and it was fourth place on speed.”
Steve Arpin, Driver, #32 OMSE Ford Fiesta: “I feel like we should have been a lot better! We had such a fast car today. It started out in qualifying—we had the first lap and it was fast, and they told me to cool it down for the rest of it, but I guess they don’t count the first lap. I had a blast on the racetrack. We had so much rain last night, but everyone did such a good job making the race track as good as it was. It was so soft, so easy to run up, but somehow they were able to maintain it and have a good race track. We just kept having flat tires—two of them today took us out of it. But the Royal Purple Ford was so good, I wish we could go out there and do it again. Even if we had another flat tire, it was just so much fun every time around the race track.”
Dave Mirra, Driver, #40 Prodrive MINI Countryman: “First and foremost, I want to thank PUMA, Liam Doran, and Prodrive for the MINI. It was an unbelievable car, super fast. I won practice yesterday, qualified second today, clearly was reeling in some other heat drivers in the other races, but things just didn’t go right. I got called for a jump start—Joey (Mancari) came back and reviewed it and said it wasn’t a jump start. We went to the LCQ and all hell broke loose. I’m pretty bummed about the race. It kind of stinks, because I know I was very fast.”
FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
- Toomas Heikkinen clinched both the 2013 Global Rallycross Driver’s Championship and 2013 Sylvania SilverStar zXe Cup on Sunday.
- This was the second win of Scott Speed’s Global Rallycross career, dating back to his victory at X Games Foz do Iguacu on April 21. It was also the first time he finished on the podium since taking the victory.
- OlsbergsMSE-prepared vehicles have won seven of eight races this season, five times by Heikkinen and twice by Speed.
- Brian Deegan’s second place finish marked his best finish since back-to-back runner up results in both Las Vegas races last season. He now has three podiums in his last five starts.
- Heikkinen’s five-race win streak was snapped, but he maintained his record of finishing on the podium in each event in 2013.
- Coming in fourth, Stephan Verdier scored his best finish since finishing third at Charlotte last year.
- Fifth place finisher Steve Arpin earned his third top five of the season, as well as his first win in a last chance qualifier.
- Tanner Foust missed a Global Rallycross final for the first time in 22 career starts on Sunday. He had accidents in both his heat race and the last chance qualifier that prevented him from advancing.
- Pat Moro finished 11th in the debut of the Chevrolet Sonic.
- Toomas Heikkinen, 154
- Tanner Foust, 103
- Brian Deegan, 101
- Ken Block, 93
- Scott Speed, 84
- Patrik Sandell, 79
- Sverre Isachsen, 74
- Steve Arpin, 70
- Liam Doran, 59
- Bucky Lasek, 46
- Travis Pastrana, 41
- Dave Mirra, 36
- Timur Timerzyanov, 34
- Mattias Ekstrom, 26
- Anton Marklund, 26
- Bryce Menzies, 21
- Stephan Verdier, 18
- Townsend Bell, 16
- Guilherme Spinelli, 14
- Nelson Piquet Jr., 13
- Rhys Millen, 13
- Buddy Rice, 7
- Henning Solberg, 7
- Pat Moro, 6
- Mauricio Neves, 5
- Edu Marques, 3
- David Sterckx, 1
- Ford, 303
- Subaru, 125
- Dodge, 109
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish