Tag Archives: Global Rallycross Las Vegas

OlsbergsMSE Holds Successful Lites Test in Las Vegas

Nearly two dozen drivers showed up to the Global Rallycross track on the Las Vegas Strip to test GRC Lites for the first time on Friday, less than 24 hours after GRC held its season finale event. Drivers with experience ranging from go-karts and dirt late models to the 24 Hours of Daytona cycled through a pair of Lites cars with coaching from season runner-up Sebastian Eriksson and fifth place driver Alexander Westlund.

The fastest time of the day belonged to Indy Lights and Grand-Am veteran Gustavo Yacaman, who posted lap times comparable to current series drivers. Yacaman, as well as most of the other drivers on site, raved about the 300-horsepower Lites vehicles.

“This was the first time I drove four wheel drive, or anything with a handbrake,” said Yacaman, “but I found it very nice to drive. The car is very nimble—it drives very similar to a go-kart. The jump was the first time I’ve ever jumped in a race car, so that was pretty cool. I’m just looking forward to racing against someone else with these cars. It’s very, very cool.”

Stage rally drivers adjusted quickly to some of the differences in the GRC Lites cars. Besides differences in power and grip, the car required some changes in driving mechanics, including the adjustment to a sequential gearbox rather than standard shifting.

“I drive Super Production, so I haven’t really had any experience driving a sequential,” noted Brenten Kelly, an instructor at DirtFish Rally School and Rally America competitor. “That was one of the issues that everyone seemed to have at first. Second, the grip that we had out there was not what I expected—it reacts a bit different.

“The cars feel amazing, it’s just getting comfortable in that car will make it a lot better. I found in the beginning that it was working well to use the brakes to turn the car, and then after thinking about it a bit I realized it was actually slowing me down quite a bit. On the tarmac it didn’t perform the same, but on the gravel I think you could get away with a bit more of it.”

“(The car) is pretty cool—it handles extremely well,” added Winston De Wardt, a fellow DirtFish instructor and the first driver of the day. I’m a little finicky with figuring out downshifts with it, but it’s just getting comfortable with it. It was really just finding what it’s capable of and how hard you can push it.”

Even a handful of drivers without lengthy backgrounds in racing got in on the fun. Kit Cope, a veteran mixed martial arts fighter best known to the GRC world as Ken Block’s personal trainer, even stepped into one of the Lites cars, as he hopes to set up a ride in the series in 2014.

“The car is super peppy,” explained Cope. “It takes a little bit of getting used to in that the shift points are really high. That was only second time I had driven a sequential, and only the first time I had driven tarmac. Everything else that I’ve done has been dirt, so (I was) picking rally lines instead of natural racing lines, and the apex is way later in the rally line.

“It just took a little bit of getting used to as far as changing surface and changing cars goes. The car is super cool. It picks up when you want it to pick up, it revs super high—it’s so much fun. You can’t have a bad day in a race car!”

But one of the biggest names to test a GRC Lites car was Andreas Bakkerud, who stepped into the Lites car in the afternoon after much of the testing was finished. Bakkerud, who had been in Las Vegas as a spectator, finished fourth in this year’s European Supercars championship as a rookie, taking two victories along the way.

“First and foremost, it’s very nice to drive,” Bakkerud commented. “I was surprised—it was very fun and the cars are equal, so you can find the best driver. It has less horsepower, but it has the performance we are looking for. This was the first time I drove it and it was good fun.

“It was strange—but it was strange in a good way. I need to struggle with it to go faster, and that’s a good thing.”

The full list of drivers who appeared in Friday’s test session, along with their car assignments and driver coaches:

Photo credit: Andre Consorte

Global Rallycross Awards Winners Announced

The inaugural Global Rallycross Awards, celebrating the accomplishments of the drivers and teams competing in the 2013 season, were awarded at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on Thursday night. The ceremony included over a dozen award winners, including representation for each team.

Points-based awards included the Supercars and Lites champions, team champion, and manufacturer champion. OlsbergsMSE drivers Toomas Heikkinen and Joni Wiman won the two driver’s championships, while OMSE won the team championship; all three of these awards were locked up in the season’s penultimate round in Charlotte. Meanwhile, manufacturer champion Ford—winner of eight of nine Supercar rounds between Heikkinen, Scott Speed, and Ken Block—clinched its title all the way back at X Games Los Angeles.

Tanner Foust won the Fan Favorite Driver of the Year Award presented by Royal Purple, in a contest that drew over 30,000 votes in just two short weeks of fan participation across social media. Foust, the host of “Top Gear” and a renowned stunt driver in addition to his Global Rallycross participation, drew a leading 36% of all votes cast.

Bucky Lasek won the inaugural Global Rallycross Sportsmanship Award. The second-year driver finished 11th in points with the Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team, earning a best finish of sixth place in Charlotte.

Each team was rewarded with a Crew Member of the Year award, designed to afford recognition to the mechanics who work tirelessly behind the scenes to get Global Rallycross cars on track each race weekend. These award winners were:

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Global Rallycross in Las Vegas: Make-a-Wish Event

GRC TV: Make-a-Wish Event

Two-time Global Rallycross champion Tanner Foust made Thursday an unforgettable day for four lucky Make-a-Wish families, appearing at a meet-and-greet and giving track rides to children. Foust has been a part of GRC’s initiatives to give back to the community on race weekends, and later drove to a second place finish in Thursday night’s race.

Global Rallycross in Las Vegas: Race Recap

GRC TV: Las Vegas Recap

The final round of the 2013 Global Rallycross season took place against the stunning backdrop of the Las Vegas Strip, with the Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur hotels overlooking a dynamic course. After months of quick lap times but frustrating results in 2013, Ken Block finally broke through to score his first GRC victory over Tanner Foust and Travis Pastrana. GRC TV’s Kate Osborne was on site with all of the major players in the end-of-season extravaganza.

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Global Rallycross Race Recap: Las Vegas Strip

IN BRIEF: It took two full seasons, but Ken Block finally cracked the code to winning a Global Rallycross event: stay clean on the start, drive fast, and get a little bit of luck. He inherited the lead from the penalized Tanner Foust to win his first GRC race on the Las Vegas Strip.

HEAT RECAPS: Wednesday’s heat races went to Tanner Foust, Toomas Heikkinen, Ken Block, and Scott Speed, respectively, while Thursday’s events saw the same four drivers earn bonus points. In the last chance qualifier, Rhys Millen coasted to the victory as Nelson Piquet Jr. spun Sverre Isachsen to take second on the final lap; Isachsen was reinstated to the final when Piquet was disqualified.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: From the get-go, GRC’s biggest names ran 1-2-3 up front, with Foust, Block, and Pastrana holding strong at the head of the pack. Speed and Millen pulled off early, while Arpin also lost power in the race’s first laps. Unfortunately for Foust, a jump start penalty dropped him to second on the third lap, yielding the top spot to Block.

As Heikkinen climbed through the field from sixth place, Block continued to extend his lead on Foust with Pastrana trailing. Eventually, Heikkinen would climb to fourth, but couldn’t quite crack the podium. Block crossed the line to a shower of pyrotechnics, while Foust earned his third runner-up placing of the year and Pastrana took his first podium of 2013.

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RESULTS: The results from Thursday’s Global Rallycross season finale on the Las Vegas Strip:

  1. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
  2. Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  3. Travis Pastrana, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  4. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  5. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  6. Bryce Menzies, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  7. Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  8. Steve Arpin, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  9. Scott Speed, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  10. Rhys Millen, #67 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
  11. Pat Moro, #59 PMR Motorsports Chevrolet Sonic
  12. Stephan Verdier, #4 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
  13. Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  14. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  15. Nelson Piquet Jr., #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo

QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Thursday’s Global Rallycross season finale on the Las Vegas Strip:

Ken Block, Driver, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST: “It feels really good. It’s been a bit of a tough year—I’ve had the speed but just haven’t had the luck in the first turn. Today I got a decent start, had some good luck in the first turn, and a battle with Tanner. Unfortunately he jumped the lights, so it gave us free reign for the win. It was fun battling with Travis earlier, fun battling with Tanner, but my team works incredibly hard, and it’s great to finally give me and my team a win.”

Tanner Foust, Driver, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “I like to drive in the gravel, and I think the Fiestas are really great in the gravel—they change direction really fast. But I think it’s a testament to OlsbergsMSE that this weekend the car was so good on the tight corners, and we made it the fastest car on the asphalt. It was definitely a lot of fun, it was nice racing door to door on the asphalt a little bit, and it was a lot less maintenance for the guys working on the crew, which was nice. It made for a lot of close bumper to bumper racing.”

Travis Pastrana, Driver, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart: “It was a surprisingly good race! We were slowest in qualifying, made a lot of adjustments. We actually took the same car setup—went back on all the springs, all the race setup that we had from New Hampshire a year and a half ago. And with a passenger that we had taken on a media ride, and we were 1.3 seconds faster with them in the car than I was in my qualifying! Dirtfish has done such an awesome job, and I can’t say enough for the team.”

Sverre Isachsen, Driver, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: “For the weekend, to take fifth place is really good for us. It’s almost a small victory. We struggled a little bit with the setup for the car, but we are pushing hard. The LCQ was hard—I was leading and I was spun around, but after all these things the mechanic made the car ready for the final. The car had small problems on every lap in the final, but we finished fifth anyway, and I’m really, really happy.”

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FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from Thursday’s Global Rallycross season finale on the Las Vegas Strip:

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 169
  2. Tanner Foust, 123
  3. Ken Block, 115
  4. Brian Deegan, 106
  5. Scott Speed, 94
  6. Patrik Sandell, 89
  7. Sverre Isachsen, 86
  8. Steve Arpin, 79
  9. Liam Doran, 59
  10. Travis Pastrana, 56
  11. Bucky Lasek, 49
  12. Dave Mirra, 36
  13. Bryce Menzies, 35
  14. Timur Timerzyanov, 34
  15. Anton Marklund, 26
  16. Mattias Ekstrom, 26
  17. Stephan Verdier, 23
  18. Rhys Millen, 20
  19. Nelson Piquet Jr., 17
  20. Townsend Bell, 16
  21. Guilherme Spinelli, 14
  22. Pat Moro, 12
  23. Buddy Rice, 7
  24. Henning Solberg, 7
  25. Mauricio Neves, 5
  26. Eduardo Marques, 3
  27. David Sterckx, 1

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 344
  2. Subaru, 144
  3. Dodge, 131

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

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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:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  2. Eric Faren, #21 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  3. Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  4. Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites
  5. Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  6. Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  7. Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  8. Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  9. Brent Lee, #35 Brent Lee Motorsports GRC Lites
  10. 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:

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 128
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 93
  3. Mitchell deJong, 81
  4. Kevin Eriksson, 76
  5. Alexander Westlund, 73
  6. Geoff Sykes, 66
  7. Austin Dyne, 66
  8. Harry Cheung, 46
  9. Halid Avdagic, 29
  10. Reinis Nitiss, 23
  11. Tyler Benson, 22
  12. Eric Faren, 17
  13. Brent Lee, 8

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

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Global Rallycross/GRC Lites Checkpoint: Las Vegas Strip

IN BRIEF: Global Rallycross Supercars and GRC Lites completed practice, seeding, and their first set of heat races for this week’s season finale on the Las Vegas Strip. The two-day event will resume on Thursday, November 7, with the finals for both classes.

SUPERCARS PRACTICE AND SEEDING: Dave Mirra and Scott Speed led the two practice sessions, respectively, but Mirra’s speed would come at a heavy cost: a terminal engine failure that ended his weekend in earnest before it had a chance to start. It was defending event winner Tanner Foust who took the top position in seeding, followed by four more Fords belonging to Speed, Ken Block, Toomas Heikkinen, and Brian Deegan.

GRC LITES PRACTICE AND SEEDING: Joni Wiman and Sebastian Eriksson came out on top of the two practice sessions, respectively, as their fight for first place resumes. Eriksson carried that momentum into seeding, where he beat Wiman for top honors.

SUPERCARS HEATS: With engine failures prevalent, Supercars heat 1A became a duel between the victorious Foust and Sverre Isachsen. Heikkinen beat Deegan and Pat Moro in heat 1B, Block defeated Bucky Lasek, Stephan Verdier, and Travis Pastrana in heat 1C, and Scott Speed beat Rhys Millen, Nelson Piquet Jr., and Bryce Menzies in heat 1D, to complete a clean sweep of Wednesday’s heats for Ford.

GRC LITES HEATS: Sebastian Eriksson carried his momentum into a dominant victory in Lites heat 1A, with Mitchell deJong barely stealing second place from series newcomer Eric Faren in the final corner, Alexander Westlund in fourth, and Brent Lee in fifth. Heat 1B, meanwhile, went to Wiman over a hard-charging Kevin Eriksson, Geoff Sykes, Tyler Benson, and Austin Dyne.

NEWS AND NOTES: More stories from day one of Global Rallycross competition on the Las Vegas Strip:

QUOTES: A selection of quotes from the first day of competition in the Global Rallycross season finale on the Las Vegas Strip:

Tanner Foust, Driver, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST:  “Maybe I’ve paid my dues to Vegas, and I’m just getting paid back here. This particular track is a bit of a road racing track, so I’ve looked to Scott Speed. I came from a road racing background, but I don’t have any experience compared to Speed, so it’s great to see his lines and talk setup with him. It’s not what the cars are made for—they don’t ‘like’ it. The tracks where there’s a lot of jumping and sliding, they love it, so it takes a little bit of convincing to get it to do what you want it to do. Then it’s about carrying momentum.”

Scott Speed, Driver, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta: “(The key to) this track is tire management, which is in my racing background. But it’s not so complicated, and our cars are good, so it runs good. We should win our heat races, because we’re racing against guys who are slower than us. If we can’t win our heat race, then we’re going to have a hard time beating the other guys.”

Ken Block, Driver, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST:  “I did have a pretty good day today, but I got beat by Tanner and Speed. Those guys are just a little bit more of tarmac experts than me. I enjoy the track, but I think when there’s more dirt on the track I excel even better, because it’s my specialty. I’ve qualified first four out of nine times this year, and I’ve won the most heat races of everybody, but today I qualified third, which means if everything goes to plan I’ll still be third on the final grid. It’s a fun track, and the facility here is great—last year was nice but this is a big step up.”

Bucky Lasek, Driver, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross WRX STI: “Being the fastest non-Blue Oval car has definitely been the highlight of my day. I think once the racing starts, we race better than we qualify, so it’s definitely going to be a good day for Subaru. (The track) is kind of challenging because it sets you up to slide, and everyone knows that sliding is slow. There are three spots on this track that our car is struggling with, turning at a tight radius and getting grip out of it, but we make up for it on the longer turns. With the bigger wheelbase, I think we’re able to make it stick. It’s give and take right now. It looks like everyone’s race craft is on point, so it should be a good race tomorrow.”

Rhys Millen, Driver, #67 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster: “This pavement is interesting. It’s very aggressive on tire wear, but it’s also very rich in oil content, which makes it slippery, so it took us a little bit to find the balance of the car. The cars may have more traction than most in the dirt, so we were hoping for a little more dirt than we have, but it’s the challenges of motorsport—you have to adapt, and I think we’ve adapted very well to the weekend.”

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

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Global Rallycross Race Preview: Las Vegas Strip

IN BRIEF: The 2013 Global Rallycross season concludes on the Las Vegas Strip, marking the second consecutive season that GRC ends up under the bright city lights. Newly crowned series champion Toomas Heikkinen will attempt to earn his unprecedented sixth win of the season.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

SPOTTER GUIDE/DRIVER STATS: CLICK HERE for the full entry list.

LIVE TIMING: CLICK HERE for Live Timing

LAST RACE: After nearly three long months, a driver was finally able to end Toomas Heikkinen’s reign atop the Global Rallycross podium. Racing in front of friends and family in his hometown, Scott Speed took his second victory of 2013 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, beating Brian Deegan and Heikkinen to the finish. However, Heikkinen still clinched the championship with a 50-point lead heading into the season finale.

DRIVER CHANGES: After a significant shake-up to the entry list in Charlotte, all 15 drivers from the previous event will return to competition in Las Vegas. They will be joined by a single addition: Rhys Millen, who will return to his Hyundai Veloster as a teammate to Stephan Verdier for the first time since this race last year. Millen’s lone start of the season thus far saw him finish fourth at X Games Los Angeles.

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.

BIG NAMES STILL LOOKING FOR FIRST WIN OF 2013: Only three drivers—Toomas Heikkinen, Scott Speed, and Liam Doran—have scored victories in the 2013 Global Rallycross season, leaving numerous big names fighting to stave off winless seasons. Defending Las Vegas race winner Tanner Foust, 2012 championship runner-up Brian Deegan, 2012 New Hampshire victor Travis Pastrana, and nine-time 2013 heat winner Ken Block are among those searching for the top step of the podium this year. It would have been almost unfathomable at the start of the year, but all four may go winless if they don’t get lucky in Las Vegas.

THE RACE FOR SECOND: Though Toomas Heikkinen has the 2013 Global Rallycross Supercars title locked up, four drivers can mathematically leave Las Vegas with second place in the season standings. Tanner Foust currently holds the spot by two points over Brian Deegan, while Ken Block lurks in the shadows at 11 points behind Foust. Even Scott Speed, at 20 points behind second place, can earn the runner-up position with a victory and some unfortunate luck for his competitors.

MILLEN RETURNS TO RALLYCROSS: Rhys Millen, who fielded a car for Stephan Verdier in the previous GRC event at Charlotte, will return to the series in Las Vegas, where he finished third last season. Millen has been active in Global Rallycross since the sport’s inaugural season, debuting his Hyundai Veloster in 2011 finishing tied for third in the 2012 standings. This year, Millen earned a runner-up finish in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and filmed the television special “Driven: A Race Without Boundaries” before competing at X Games Los Angeles, where he finished fourth in his lone start of 2013 so far.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Thursday’s Global Rallycross event on the Las Vegas Strip:

Patrik Sandell, Driver, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “My first contact with Global Rallycross was here one year ago. Before then, I had only been racing stage rally, but when I came here and saw this I realized this was the place to be. I’m completely focused on trying to win the last race—I like the whole track. One thing that’s good is that the first turn is quite fast, so I think it will be quite a fair race without a crash in the first corner. That’s good for me, because when I’m free I can go fast!”

Scott Speed, Driver, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta: “The track looks amazing. It’s the best one we’ve had all year! I’m super excited to run here in the heart of Las Vegas.”

Steve Arpin, Driver, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta: “Coming to Vegas, I’m not sure if I’m more excited about coming to Vegas and seeing how awesome the track is going to be, or bummed out that this is the end of the season. Looking at the track yesterday, walking around it, I didn’t sleep at all last night—I was like a little kid waiting for Santa to come thinking about getting out there. It’s going to be so fast and so much fun, and there are so many opportunities to race, to pass, and to try different lines and techniques.”

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 154
  2. Tanner Foust, 104
  3. Brian Deegan, 102
  4. Ken Block, 93
  5. Scott Speed, 84

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 303
  2. Subaru, 131
  3. Dodge, 106

Photo credit: Tom Donoghue

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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:

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.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 106
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 77
  3. Mitchell deJong, 69

Photo credit: Tom Donoghue

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GRC Drivers Appear at SEMA Before Vegas Finale

The annual SEMA Show attracts hundreds of thousands of car enthusiasts, brand representatives, and race drivers to the Las Vegas Strip every year. After holding the 2012 season finale in a Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot, Global Rallycross has maintained its presence at the show this year with numerous driver appearances.

In conjunction with Ford, the 2013 Global Rallycross Manufacturer’s Champion, five drivers (Ken Block, Patrik Sandell, Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan, and newly crowned series champion Toomas Heikkinen) performed demonstration runs in the same parking lot where GRC raced last season. Meanwhile, Foust and Deegan attracted scores of fans at autograph sessions across the exhibition, entertaining both sponsorship partners and fans alike, while Sandell made appearances on behalf of newly signed sponsor Kobalt Tools, Block promoted the upcoming Gymkhana Six video, and Heikkinen relished his status as the top dog of the 2013 GRC season.

For the first time in 2013, Global Rallycross has maintained a display of its own at SEMA, located at booth #50647 on the Skybridge. SEMA attendees can stop by to learn more about the series and pick up schedules for GRC’s two-day race event, held just minutes away from the show at 3901 Las Vegas Boulevard South. SEMA attendees gain free admittance with their show badge.