IN BRIEF: Toomas Heikkinen became the first driver to win three consecutive Global Rallycross events when he took the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway, beating Ken Block and Brian Deegan to the victory.
HEAT RECAPS: Global Rallycross returned to a two-heat system in Bristol, with Ken Block winning his heat pair and Patrik Sandell doing the same. But while Scott Speed won the first heat for the third group, a persistent Sverre Isachsen stole the second heat. Toomas Heikkinen, Liam Doran, and Steve Arpin also advanced from the heats; a star-studded last chance qualifier saw Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust, and Timur Timerzyanov advance.
MAIN EVENT RECAP: A rough-and-tumble first lap saw Block lose his top seed and lane advantage to Heikkinen for the second race in a row, though Isachsen also threatened to hold the lead. Heikkinen and Isachsen would make it out of the bottleneck first, though Block would regain second place quickly.
The rest of the race saw what was left of the field attempt to catch Heikkinen to no avail, as Block, Deegan, Isachsen (with a busted exhaust) and Sandell would be the only other finishers. Arpin, Foust, Timerzyanov, and Doran all suffered too much damage to continue beyond the race’s initial laps.
RESULTS: The results of today’s Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at Bristol Motor Speedway:
- Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
- Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
- Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Steve Arpin, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
- Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Timur Timerzyanov, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
- Liam Doran, #33 LD Motorsports MINI Countryman
- Bryce Menzies, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
- Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
- Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
- Scott Speed, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
QUOTES: A collection of quotes from after today’s Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at Bristol Motor Speedway:
Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: I just tried to get a good start on the grid, and after that I chose the tight line on the inside corner, and that made the difference. Then I didn’t have mirrors on my car! (The win) feels alright, but I still have to concentrate on every race. Like I’ve said before, many times, we have to concentrate race by race. Of course there’s pressure, but I think my gap is quite good.
Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST: Topi came from the second row, didn’t qualify well, didn’t have great heats, and just got through the first turn. It’s just the crapshoot of rallycross. I did everything possible to win, and I just got booted around in the first turn. No matter how much effort you put in, it can still turn out completely the opposite. I’m very confident in what I’m doing in the car—the car is absolutely dialed and my team has worked really hard. The car is working for me perfectly, doing everything I want it to do, and I’m able to find the lines. As long as we can keep doing that, hopefully I can still be in the top range of qualifying, and I’ll keep doing everything I can.
Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: It was a battle, you know? We had the toughest qualifier. We had (Ken) Block, (Tanner) Foust, and (Toomas) Heikkinen, so it was like a main event. In the second round, we went out there, ended up going with Topi, had a go a few times, and busted up the car. We cracked the frame. I ended up across the finish line third and had to go to the last chance, but the mechanics fixed it up super quick and I went down there. They said to take it easy on the car, so I hung in there, cruised it, and won the last chance qualifier into the main event. That was my first goal. My second goal was, “if I can top three from the back row, I’ll be stoked.” So I came into the start on the inside, battling each other, and it’s kind of who’s the luckiest in the first turn. I came out in fourth or fifth, and I just started being consistent, trying to keep the car alive because it was shaking so bad—I was in survival mode. Guys started falling off, and I got up to third. There will be more wars to battle, X Games is coming up, and that’s the one I want to win. I know I have the speed to do it, it just comes down to a lot of luck.
Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: I was first for about five meters! That was the difference in the final. But somebody hit me quite hard in the rear and broke my exhaust. So I was in the lead, but the car was not running well. All of the other guys see that we’re coming up now, and trying to push the limit every time. The team is working really hard now, and doing the best we can do with this car. It’s getting better and better in every race. And to stay in the first row in the main is very good.
FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from today’s Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at Bristol Motor Speedway:
- This is Toomas Heikkinen’s third career Global Rallycross victory, and his third in a row. He is the first driver in Global Rallycross history to win three consecutive main events. He is also the third driver in GRC history to score five consecutive podium finishes (Tanner Foust, 2011; Brian Deegan, 2012).
- Ford swept the podium for the third time this season (X Games Brazil, New Hampshire). All four OlsbergsMSE drivers, Ken Block, and Scott Speed have stood on a podium for Ford this season.
- Ken Block finished second for the third time in his Global Rallycross career, and second time in 2013. He also finished second at X Games Los Angeles in 2012 and the first X Games Munich event this season.
- Brian Deegan scored his second consecutive podium finish (both were third place finishes). Deegan now has nine career podiums in 14 Global Rallycross starts, including a win in the second round at X Games Los Angeles in 2011.
- Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team had its most successful weekend of 2013. Sverre Isachsen scored the team’s first heat victory in Heat 2C, and its best finish of the year by finishing fourth. It was Isachsen’s best finish since his third place run at Las Vegas in September of last year.
- For the first time in his Global Rallycross career, Tanner Foust failed to finish in the top six of a race. Foust was scored seventh after the main event.
- Toomas Heikkinen, 96
- Brian Deegan, 62
- Tanner Foust, 61
- Patrik Sandell, 60
- Ken Block, 58
SYLVANIA SILVERSTAR ZXE CUP POINTS:
- Toomas Heikkinen, 41
- Ken Block, 32
- Patrik Sandell, 31
- Brian Deegan, 30
- Sverre Isachsen, 25
- Ford, 186
- Subaru, 60
- Dodge, 59
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish