GRC Lites Race Preview: Las Vegas Strip
IN BRIEF: The final race of the inaugural GRC Lites championship will take place on the Las Vegas Strip, with 10 drivers competing for bragging rights heading into 2014. Inaugural series champion Joni Wiman, winner of the first five events, will attempt to make a clean sweep of the season.
TUNE IN INFORMATION:
- Thursday, November 7, 7:00PM ET on ESPN2 (Live)
LIVE TIMING: CLICK HERE for Live Timing
LAST RACE: Joni Wiman earned a victory once again in Charlotte to clinch the first-ever GRC Lites title, but the accomplishment wasn’t easy. In fact, it was Set Promotion teammate Kevin Eriksson who appeared likely to score the win until a flat tire ruined his chances. Geoff Sykes, who earned his first series podium, and Sebastian Eriksson, who started last on the grid, completed the podium.
DRIVER CHANGES: Harry Cheung will not make the trip to Las Vegas, but two newcomers will replace him. Eric Faren, who finished fourth in this year’s European Super1600 championship competing against multiple drivers with GRC Lites experience, will drive the #21 car; Brent Lee, a veteran of Rally America in the 2WD class, will drive the #35 car.
THE TRACK: This year’s Las Vegas layout contains many similarities to the layout that Global Rallycross used last year, including a wide start and long straightaway into the first corner. The paved section features two sweeping corners into a hairpin, before drivers encounter the jump and joker lane in the dirt section. The final corner is a wide right hander, taking drivers past the start-finish line at speed.
WIMAN AIMS TO MAKE HISTORY, AGAIN: Five races into the first GRC Lites season, the series has yet to produce a second winner after Joni Wiman’s dominant performance. But besides completing the first clean sweep of a season in GRC history, Wiman could do something even more unprecedented with a sixth straight win in Las Vegas: break Toomas Heikkinen’s GRC record of five consecutive wins, set almost concurrently with Wiman’s dominance. Previously, the series’ record for consecutive victories was two, set in the Supercars class by Marcus Gronholm (twice) and Tanner Foust (also twice).
THE BATTLE FOR SECOND PLACE: Joni Wiman’s clean sweep of the season through five races has left his rivals fighting for second place—both on track and in the championship. Sebastian Eriksson’s 77 points leave him in good shape to claim the position, but Mitchell deJong (69 points) and Kevin Eriksson (65 points) could both steal the spot.
FAREN LOOKING AHEAD: With his second season of European Super1600 rallycross in the books, Eric Faren is looking ahead to a jump into four-wheel drive racing in 2014. With that in mind, he will contest the final event of the inaugural GRC Lites season in Las Vegas, using the event as both seat time in a four-wheel drive car and a litmus test for next season. Faren, 23, has suggested that a strong performance in Las Vegas may lead him to pursue the series championship in 2014.
- Joni Wiman, 106
- Sebastian Eriksson, 77
- Mitchell deJong, 69
Photo credit: Tom Donoghue