GRC Lites Race Recap: Las Vegas Strip
IN BRIEF: Joni Wiman completed a perfect sweep of the 2013 GRC Lites season by scoring a victory on the Las Vegas Strip. Wiman beat series newcomer Eric Faren and points runner-up Sebastian Eriksson to the line in the sixth and final race of the year.
HEAT RECAPS: Top seed Sebastian Eriksson and Faren split heats 1A and 2A, positioning themselves well for the main event, while Joni Wiman swept both heats 1B and 2B. After overcoming the first engine failure in GRC Lites history, Kevin Eriksson won the last chance qualifier to advance to the final, while Alexander Westlund followed him into the eight-car main event.
MAIN EVENT RECAP: Wiman moved aggressively across the grid at the start, leading Sebastian Eriksson and Faren, who got off to a slower start than he may have hoped. Luckily for Faren, he was able to regain second place by taking the joker immediately, and held the spot as Wiman began to pull away.
In the second half of the pack, strong starts from Austin Dyne and Kevin Eriksson allowed them to pull into fourth and fifth place, respectively, but Mitchell deJong would eventually pass Eriksson for fifth.
RESULTS: The results from Thursday’s Global Rallycross season finale on the Las Vegas Strip:
- Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
- Eric Faren, #21 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
- Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
- Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites
- Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
- Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
- Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
- Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
- Brent Lee, #35 Brent Lee Motorsports GRC Lites
- Tyler Benson, #60 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Thursday’s Global Rallycross season finale on the Las Vegas Strip:
Joni Wiman, Driver, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites: “I didn’t expect everything to go this well, but of course I am happy about it. It was unbelievable. I thought that it was important to get good speed out of the corner, and that way nobody could catch me. In the final I got to push Sebastian a bit out, and I got to take the line by myself.”
Eric Faren, Driver, #21 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: “I’m very happy. It’s almost perfect—I’m fighting against the best Lites drivers there are, because they’ve raced the most, so second place is very good. I said if I was second or third, I would take the joker immediately so I wouldn’t get stuck behind other drivers. I tried to follow the leader and catch him, but then I got some company from behind, so I had to keep him there. We lost some time on Wiman, but second was good.”
Sebastian Eriksson, Driver, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: “It was really tough today. It was a tight track. I had a quite good start, but I had to let go for Joni in the first corner, and I made a mistake to take the joker on the second lap—I should have waited until closer to the finish, I think. I was faster, but I couldn’t pass Eric. Third place is good.”
FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from from Thursday’s Global Rallycross season finale on the Las Vegas Strip:
- Joni Wiman won his sixth consecutive GRC Lites race in Las Vegas on Thursday. He completed a perfect sweep of the season in the finals and won eight of a nine possible heat races as well. Wiman’s six consecutive victories is a Global Rallycross record.
- Wiman was also awarded the 2013 GRC Lites Driver’s Championship on Thursday. Wiman clinched the series championship in the previous round of competition at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway after winning the series’ first five races.
- Eric Faren finished second in his GRC Lites debut. Faren, who finished fourth in this year’s Super1600 championship in Europe, won his second heat race and earned a front row starting spot for the final.
- Sebastian Eriksson earned his fourth consecutive third place finish in Las Vegas. Eriksson finished on the podium in five of six races in 2013.
- GRC Lites suffered the first engine failure of the series’ history on Kevin Eriksson’s car during Heat 2B. Eriksson’s car was the original GRC Lites prototype, and has undergone constant testing and racing since last year—an affirmation of the durability of the 300-horsepower Mountune powerplant. Eriksson recovered from the failure with a new engine, winning the last chance qualifier and finishing sixth in the final.
- Joni Wiman, 128
- Sebastian Eriksson, 93
- Mitchell deJong, 81
- Kevin Eriksson, 76
- Alexander Westlund, 73
- Geoff Sykes, 66
- Austin Dyne, 66
- Harry Cheung, 46
- Halid Avdagic, 29
- Reinis Nitiss, 23
- Tyler Benson, 22
- Eric Faren, 17
- Brent Lee, 8
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish