GRC Lites Season Review: Joni Wiman
The perfect season is, more often than not, a pipe dream in professional sports. One of a few things usually happens: there are too many events for the participants to avoid losing at least once, the competition proves too much to overcome, or bad luck eventually strikes.
Tell that to Joni Wiman and see how he reacts.
Wiman did the unthinkable in the inaugural GRC Lites season—he won all six races in a spec car against some of the top up-and-coming rallycross drivers in the world. He lost a single heat race in nine attempts, never seeing so much as a single last chance qualifier. He was so fast that the title was never really in question, and before anyone knew it, it was locked up in Charlotte, over a month before the season finale.
Not once all season did he look so much as the slightest bit vulnerable.
Well, perhaps that’s an exaggeration. Wiman’s lone defeat came in a heat race at Bristol, the second race of the season, with many miles still to be driven. His aggressive driving in the season finale at Las Vegas, which saw him cut from the inside starting line to the outside before swooping back into turn one, suggested that other competitors may have been faster.
But neither situation would faze the young Finn, a protégé of two-time World Rally champion and five-time Supercars race winner Marcus Gronholm. He won both races easily, part of the six-race win streak that may never be equaled in either class of Global Rallycross.
So what’s next? It’s only logical to expect Wiman to move up to Supercars in 2014, and he certainly feels he can handle it.
“I’m quite ready,” Wiman insisted after finishing the perfect season in Las Vegas. “It’s only the power that is (different). But I am quite ready from driving the Lites.”
After sweeping the inaugural GRC Lites season, it’s not hard to believe that he can handle it.
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish (1, 2); Larry Chen (3)