Tag Archives: Guiga Spinelli


X Games Austin Invited Athletes Announced

Today ESPN has announced the first wave of athletes who will be invited to X Games Austin, including the drivers who have been invited to compete in the second round of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross season.

The list includes numerous X Games veterans, including all-time leading X Games rally medalist Tanner Foust, former gold medal winners Travis Pastrana, Brian Deegan, and Scott Speed, and former GRC Lites drivers Joni Wiman and Austin Dyne. Of the drivers announced so far, 15 competed in GRC Supercars events at X Games last season.

Two female drivers will also make their X Games debut in Austin: drifting veteran Sarah Burgess and multiple New Zealand Rally Championship runner-up Emma Gilmour. They will become the first female athletes to compete in X Games rally events as drivers.

The full list of invited athletes is as follows:


Nani Roma Wins Dakar Rally

Nani Roma, longtime Dakar Rally competitor and 2013 X Games Barcelona entrant, took his second career Dakar victory on Saturday. A decade after winning the event on a motorcycle, Roma won the car class of competition by five minutes and 38 seconds over MINI teammate Stephane Peterhansel.

“I don’t know if this was the most stressful thing I’d ever done, but it was very tough,” Roma said after taking the victory. “The second week, with difficult, long stages, wasn’t easy. We’re happy, very happy with the work Michel [Périn] and I did. I’m going to revel in this. 10 years to the day after winning on a motorcycle, I’ve won in a car. It’s a dream come true.”

Roma took his first lead of the event after winning the third of 13 stages, and remained in the top three overall for the remainder of the two-week expedition. Despite losing the overall lead to Peterhansel after the race’s penultimate stage, Roma made up over six minutes to regain the top spot.

Two other Global Rallycross competitors entered the grueling event but were unable to finish. Both Carlos Sainz, who joined Marklund Motorsport at X Games Barcelona, and Guiga Spinelli, who joined X Team Racing in Barcelona and Munich, withdrew from the event in stage 10. Sainz took two stage victories before his withdrawal, while Spinelli spent much of the event fighting for a top-10 placement.

Image via Dakar Rally


Global Rallycross Season Review: Guiga Spinelli

As Global Rallycross attracted international superstars from diverse racing backgrounds in 2013, off-road veterans were among those to give rallycross a try. One of those names that might have flown under the radar was Guiga Spinelli, a two-time top-10 finisher in the Dakar Rally, who would fill in for Nelson Piquet at X Team Racing in a handful events.

Spinelli would make his rallycross debut in 2013, appearing at a pair of X Games events. Though he wasn’t expected to outperform his Formula 1 veteran teammate, it would be the Rally dos Sertoes legend who would score the team’s best finish of the season.


Though Spinelli wouldn’t have the chance to race in his home country of Brazil, he would make his first Global Rallycross appearance by heading to Barcelona as part of the second X Games race of the year. Unfortunately, the rain would prove too much for the event to go on, and he wouldn’t even have the chance to make it to the track.

X Games Munich would then serve as Spinelli’s de facto series debut. The first race saw him work to adapt to a new car and driving style; he would earn the 13th seed and finish fourth in his heat. A fifth-place finish in the last chance qualifier would give him the 13th overall finishing position at race’s end.


Fortunately, Munich served as a doubleheader to make up for the Barcelona cancellation, and Spinelli would take full advantage. Though his seeding performance was actually worse (16th out of 17 drivers), he would finish third in his heat to earn a front-row spot in the last chance qualifier. After avoiding the troubles of more experienced competitors in the LCQ, Spinelli finished second in the LCQ and made his way to seventh in the final.

For now, Spinelli’s focus remains on rally raid; the longtime Mitsubishi driver will compete in the Dakar Rally for the sixth time in January. But he proved that the older-model Evo could be a competitive car in 2013, and that’s a great positive for X Team.

Photo credit: GRC Staff


25 Days of GRC

For the past 25 days, we at Global Rallycross have been spotlighting some of the best stories of the 2013 season, both on and off the track, on our Instagram account under the hashtag #25DaysofGRC. Today, we recap all 25 story selections with this handy rundown.

Race Recap: Heikkinen Wins First Career X Games Gold in Munich

IN BRIEF: After a silver medal in Brazil and a bronze yesterday, Toomas Heikkinen finally won a gold medal at the Global Rallycross event in X Games Munich on Sunday. Liam Doran and Tanner Foust won the silver and bronze medals.

HEAT RECAPS: Heikkinen, Mattias Ekstrom, Doran, and Brian Deegan won the four heats, while Steve Arpin, Sverre Isachsen, Ken Block, and Tanner Foust also advanced directly to the final. After three re-starts in the last chance qualifier, Townsend Bell and Guiga Spinelli also advanced to the main event.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: A wild first turn saw Isachsen’s Subaru get bounced on two wheels, while Heikkinen and Doran managed to clear the majority of the carnage. Deegan pulled off shortly thereafter.

Heikkinen began to pull away from the field, while a tight battle still commenced in the middle of the pack. Ekstrom and Bell fought aggressively for fifth place, while Block remained on track and charged past multiple cars. Meanwhile, Foust’s rear bumper began to drag in the middle of the race before eventually falling off.

At race’s end, Heikkinen crossed the line first, nearly five seconds ahead of Doran and almost ten seconds ahead of Foust. Ekstrom, Arpin, Bell, and Spinelli finished behind them on the lead lap, while Isachsen completed nine laps and Deegan completed one.

QUOTES: A collection of quotes from after today’s Global Rallycross event at X Games Munich:

Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: ”It felt good, and even right now it feels good. But we have a long season, and we have go into LA and see what will happen. I’m leading the championship right now, and we have to be happy. But tomorrow we have to concentrate on the future… (The team) make it work, they make the cars, and I just come in and do my best.”

Liam Doran, #33 LD Motorsports MINI Countryman: ”It was a hard race. Rallycross is always a battle, and I had a couple of hits, but it happens, you know? The car was broken from the second turn. Yesterday I won a gold medal with three wheels, and this time I did eight laps with pretty much three wheels again, because one rear wheel was pointing in completely the wrong direction. But I’m proud of myself for keeping it in one piece and staying on the track, and silver’s not bad at the end of the day, is it? Anyone else would be happy, so of course I’m happy. I could have won gold, and it’s frustrating, but you’ve still got to be happy. I got one yesterday, so I shouldn’t be greedy, should I?”

Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “Yesterday was horrible damage, and the team was working hard to get it all put back together. Today, though, the car’s fairly clean. I saw my own bumper on the track somewhere, but that comes off pretty easily. I did go underneath a Subaru on the first corner… I’ll be honest, it’s hard to be too excited because I just got lucky in the first turn. Yesterday I got unlucky, and there’s a very fine line between those two. The difference is not a good result, and a good result. I’ll take the luck when I can get it, and if that means some hardware, then even better.”

Guiga Spinelli, #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo: ”It was a very, very important moment, an amazing moment, my first time here. It’s a fantastic takeaway, sure, and I’m very happy to be in the final in my first weekend. Sure we will work much more to try to come back better, better, and better, and for me, next time will be with more experience. We’ll try to do our best each time that we come.”

FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from today’s X Games Munich doubleheader.


  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 55
  2. Liam Doran, 43
  3. Tanner Foust, 37

  Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com

By The Numbers: Barcelona Entry List Boasts Numerous Accolades

Global Rallycross frequently boasts one of the most versatile and talented driver bases in all of motorsport, and Sunday’s event at X Games Barcelona is no exception. The 17 entrants have appeared in nearly every major racing series on the planet, taking home dozens of accolades in the process. Here’s a look at just what they’ve accomplished:

Photo credit: Alison Merion Padron

Meet Guiga Spinelli, Driver, X Team Racing

He won’t be the best-known newcomer to casual fans, but don’t discount Guilherme “Guiga” Spinelli (in right of photo) at this weekend’s Global Rallycross event at X Games Barcelona.

Spinelli is one of Brazil’s most accomplished off-road drivers, winning in both stage rally and rally raid events, and is a frequent competitor in the prestigious Dakar Rally. He’ll also be behind the wheel of the X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo, the same car that Nelson Piquet Jr. qualified fourth at X Games Foz do Iguacu.

In advance of his Global Rallycross debut, Spinelli sat down to talk about his career accomplishments, his interest in the series, and why X Games was the right place to make his debut:

For fans who may not yet be familiar with you, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are some of your greatest accomplishments so far?

I’m a 4 time Brazilian rally raid champion. I’m a 4 time Sertões Rally champion (the biggest rally raid in Brazil – 5.000 km and 10 days). Two times I’ve finished in the top 10 in Dakar Rally (2nd  place petrol category and 3rd place petrol category). And I’m a two time Brazilian Rally Championship champion.

What first made you interested in racing in Global Rallycross?

It’s a nice format, mixing rally drive style with a king of race in circuit. Also because the cars are very fast with very good performance. Sure it’s nice to drive and amazing race style.

You’ve been driving in the Dakar Rally for the past half-decade. What sorts of driving skills and techniques can you transfer from desert racing to rallycross?

Not a lot. Dakar is very different kind of rally, a lot of different kind of tracks plus biggest part in desert. And we just pass one time everywhere… never repeat the same corner. But I’m also a rally driver and raced many times with Lancer Evo, the same car that I’ll race GRC. So this GRC style of circuit is similar to a super prime in rally. The techniques to push on the limit comparing super prime rally and GRC is the same.

You’re continuing your relationship with Mitsubishi by driving for X Team Racing at X Games. What are you looking forward to the most about driving for them?

I’ve worked for Mitsubishi Motors Brazil since 2000. I’m a race driver and also Mitsubishi’s motorsports director in Brazil. Now our priority focus for my driver side is continuous pushing to a podium in Dakar and win more Sertões Rallies (we won 4 times) and other rallies around the world. And the new challenge is to have a top team in GRC with X Team Racing.

Have you had any seat time in the car in preparation for Barcelona? What are your thoughts on how it handles? If not, have you discussed it with Nelson Piquet after Brazil?

No, I didn’t drive the car yet. But I know the technical specification and also discussed with Nelsinho and the team manager (Geraldo) a lot. In Barcelona I’ll have a discussion also with the engineer. But I know the car is fast, ease to drive and has the same transmission package from all Lancer Evo X. I have good experience with Lancer Evo from the XI edition until the X edition.

X Games rounds are some of the most prestigious on the Global Rallycross schedule. What are your thoughts on getting to make your debut at one of these events?

It’ll be more exciting because the X Games event is a top extreme event in the world. So, I know we will be close to top athletic people and crazy competition in radical sports. So, it’s the top event to debut in.

When all is said and done, do you have any goals and expectations for your result in Barcelona? Are you hoping to run more races after this one?

Sure, I’m very curious to understand my performance compared to others drivers and teams. I don’t have any idea about our result possibilities but I’ll try to do my best to have the best result. I’m really hoping to do more X Games/GRC races this year, I need also to find the dates in which I don’t have compromises with rally raid events.

Photo credit: Theo Ribeiro