Tag Archives: Joni Wiman

GRC Lites Race Recap: The Dirt Track at Charlotte

IN BRIEF: Joni Wiman remains perfect in GRC Lites competition, winning his fifth consecutive race at The Dirt Track on Charlotte on Sunday. This victory, over Geoff Sykes and Sebastian Eriksson, extended Wiman’s points lead to 29—clinching him the inaugural series title.

HEAT RECAPS: With two sets of heat races and no last chance qualifier, drivers were racing purely for bonus points rather than advancement. Wiman swept heats 1A and 2A, while Kevin Eriksson and Mitchell deJong split 1B and 2B, respectively.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: For the second race in a row, Wiman failed to secure the holeshot in the final, this time falling behind Kevin Eriksson as a rough start dropped deJong through the field. But Eriksson’s good luck faded fairly quickly, as a cut right rear tire dropped him through the field like a stone until he eventually ended up seventh.

Geoff Sykes managed to avoid trouble at the start to coast to an easy second place, while jostling between the rest of the field allowed Sebastian Eriksson, who had missed his second heat race, to climb from ninth to fourth in the first lap. He battled with deJong once again, reminiscent of their duel in Atlanta, but held third place.

RESULTS: The results from GRC Lites at The Dirt Track at Charlotte:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  2. Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  3. Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  4. Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  5. Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  6. Harry Cheung, #88 Cohesive Front Racing GRC Lites
  7. Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  8. Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites
  9. Tyler Benson, #60 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 106
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 77
  3. Mitchell deJong, 69
  4. Kevin Eriksson, 65
  5. Alexander Westlund, 63
  6. Geoff Sykes, 57
  7. Austin Dyne, 53
  8. Harry Cheung, 46
  9. Halid Avdagic, 29
  10. Reinis Nitiss, 23
  11. Tyler Benson, 15

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Lites Race Preview: Charlotte Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: Joni Wiman will attempt to win his fifth consecutive GRC Lites race at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as trying to lock up the inaugural series title on points before the season finale.

TUNE IN INFORMATION FOR RACE:

ENTRY LIST: CLICK HERE for the full entry list.

LIVE TIMING FOR NHMS: CLICK HERE for Live Timing

LAST RACE: For the second race in a row, Joni Wiman, Mitchell deJong, and Sebastian Eriksson comprised the podium at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While deJong and Eriksson fought an intense battle for second place, Wiman scored his fourth consecutive victory and stretched his championship lead to 22 points.

DRIVER CHANGES: Reinis Nitiss will not race in Charlotte, yielding the #15 car to potential new drivers. Aside from Tyler Benson’s number change from #4 to #60, in honor of his father, former NFL Pro Bowl center Brad Benson, there are no other changes to the entry list.

THE TRACK: Unlike 2012, this year’s Charlotte race will take place on the Dirt Track facility adjacent to the stock car oval. The track, primarily comprised of dirt, will feature multiple obstacles, including sections that will take cars out of, and back into, the facility.

WIMAN’S CHAMPIONSHIP SCENARIO: With a 22-point lead over Sebastian Eriksson, Joni Wiman is guaranteed to maintain the points lead in the season finale unless he fails to start on Sunday. A lead of 23 points or more would lock up the inaugural GRC Lites title for Wiman; he needs to only finish in front of Eriksson, and win as many or more heat races than him, to do so.

DEJONG EARNS SUPERCAR TEST: Mitchell deJong shook down Bryce Menzies’ #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart on Saturday, becoming the first GRC Lites driver to climb into a Supercar for any reason on a GRC race weekend. With neither Menzies nor Pastrana available on Saturday due to other commitments, the fellow Red Bull driver offered his services to the team and turned his first laps in the car in the parking lot.

BENSON RETURNS TO SERIES: Tyler Benson made his GRC Lites debut last month at Atlanta Motor Speedway, substituting for Halid Avdagic in the #4 car. He’ll make his second start in Charlotte, with a completely different look: the car has been renumbered to #60, and the New Jersey-based Brad Benson Auto Group will back him. Benson owns the largest Hyundai dealer in the state of New Jersey.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 84
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 62
  3. Mitchell deJong, 55

Wiman Aims To Lock Up Inaugural GRC Lites Title in Charlotte

While Toomas Heikkinen looks to clinch his first Global Rallycross Supercars championship at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend, Finnish compatriot Joni Wiman looks to do the same in the GRC Lites class.

Heikkinen’s accomplishments have stolen much of the attention, but Wiman has been just as impressive. In nine track appearances (five heat races and four main events) this season, Wiman has crossed the line first eight times, winning all four finals and only losing a single heat race in Bristol.

For his efforts, he leads Sebastian Eriksson by 22 points heading into the penultimate round on the series schedule. If he maintains a lead of that size at Sunday’s end, he will have clinched the first GRC Lites championship.

Eriksson could eat up much of Wiman’s championship lead by driving consistently and catching a lucky break this weekend. If Eriksson scores the maximum 22 points by winning the final and both heat races, and Wiman misses the six-car final, he’ll make up a minimum of 12 points, turning the deficit into something manageable in the Las Vegas season finale.

That being said, he’ll have to catch Wiman first. And after earning top three seeds in each session this year, putting him in place to break out at the start of heats and earn lane choice in the final, that’s no easy task.

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Recap-LitesFeatured1

GRC Lites Race Recap: Atlanta Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: Once again, Finnish phenomenon Joni Wiman came out on top of the GRC Lites race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, winning his fourth consecutive event in only four starts. Mitchell deJong fought Sebastian Eriksson tooth and nail to secure second place, with Eriksson coming home third.

HEAT RECAPS: Wiman and Sebastian Eriksson won their heat races, with Westlund also transferring from the first race and deJong from the second as Kevin Eriksson suffered a late mechanical failure. In the last chance qualifier, Reinis Nitiss and Kevin Eriksson would coast to the final two transfer spots in the final.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: Initially, Wiman’s streak of GRC Lites victories looked to be in jeopardy, as Sebastian Eriksson took the lead on the start and through the joker. But by the halfway point, Eriksson’s lead was gone, as he and Wiman traded the point multiple times until finally the Finn pulled away.

From there, Sebastian Eriksson was forced to defend second place from both deJong and Kevin Eriksson, who pushed forward despite starting last in the six-car final. On the very last lap, deJong finally made it past for good, securing his second consecutive runner-up finish.

RESULTS: The results from GRC Lites at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  2. Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  3. Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  4. Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  5. Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  6. Reinis Nitiss, #15 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  7. Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  8. Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites
  9. Harry Cheung, #88 Cohesive Front Racing GRC Lites
  10. Tyler Benson, #4 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 84
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 62
  3. Mitchell deJong, 55
  4. Kevin Eriksson, 53
  5. Alexander Westlund, 52
  6. Austin Dyne, 44
  7. Geoff Sykes, 40
  8. Harry Cheung, 35
  9. Halid Avdagic, 29
  10. Reinis Nitiss, 23
  11. Tyler Benson, 7

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Lites Race Recap: X Games Los Angeles

IN BRIEF: Joni Wiman remains the only winner in GRC Lites history, taking the gold medal at X Games Los Angeles in his X Games debut. Mitchell deJong and Sebastian Eriksson took silver and bronze.

HEAT RECAPS: The first heat race was cut short due to an incident involving Austin Dyne, with Wiman, Kevin Eriksson, and Halid Avdagic in transfer spots. Sebastian Eriksson, deJong, and GRC Lites debutant Reinis Nitiss advanced from the second heat. Alexander Westlund and Harry Cheung advanced from the last chance qualifier.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: As has been common this season, Wiman dominated the 10-lap final, checking out from an intense three-car battle between Sebastian Eriksson, deJong, and Westlund. Sebastian Eriksson was judged to have jumped the start, forcing him to take a stop-and-go penalty, an order which he ignored for much of the event.

When Sebastian Eriksson returned to the track, deJong and Westlund had passed him and were set to take the silver and bronze medals. However, Westlund hit a barrier on the last lap, damaging the car heavily and dropping him to sixth place.

RESULTS: The results from GRC Lites at X Games Los Angeles:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  2. Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  3. Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  4. Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  5. Reinis Nitiss, #15 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  6. Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  7. Halid Avdagic, #4 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  8. Harry Cheung, #88 Cohesive Front Racing GRC Lites
  9. Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  10. Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites

QUOTES: A collection of quotes from Sunday’s Global Rallycross event at X Games Los Angeles:

Joni Wiman, Driver, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites: It took very exact driving. It was very difficult to drive the first three or four laps, but then it was normal. In the hairpins, I saw the guys, and I could see if they were catching me. I didn’t know if they had done the shortcut, so the pressure was on. Of course we’re starting to think about (the championship), but we can’t too much. We have a good lead, and it’s safe, but you never know.

Mitchell deJong, Driver, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: It’s great. I’m just thankful to be able to race in (X Games). To be able to come out with a podium is so cool, and I can’t thank everyone enough for getting the car ready from Bristol. It was a tough track—it was a little wet, which made it extra challenging. I just did my best, tried to stay smooth and stay off the walls, and it seemed to work. It was a lot of fun, the car was great, and I can’t complain about it at all. It was cool!

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 63
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 46
  3. Kevin Eriksson, 41
  4. Alexander Westlund, 39
  5. Mitchell deJong, 37
  6. Austin Dyne, 35
  7. Geoffrey Sykes, 30
  8. Halid Avdagic, 29
  9. Harry Cheung, 27
  10. Reinis Nitiss, 12

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Lites Race Preview: X Games Los Angeles

IN BRIEF: GRC Lites will make their X Games debut at Irwindale Event Center, marking the halfway point of the series’ inaugural 2013 season.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.

LAST RACE: Joni Wiman survived an action-packed finale at Bristol, avoiding an accident that sent Kevin Eriksson on his roof and gave Sebastian Eriksson terminal damage. As the only driver on the front row for the restart, Wiman coasted to an easy victory over Austin Dyne and Alexander Westlund.

THE TRACK: The layout for X Games Los Angeles at Irwindale Event Center is much different than the one that GRC used in its inaugural race at the track in 2011. The eight-turn course begins with a sweeping banked turn, as in Bristol, before ducking into the infield and negotiating a tight dirt section.

ROOM FOR ONE MORE: Lativan driver Reinis Nitiss will make his GRC Lites debut on Sunday, driving the #15 car. Racing with Set Promotion in the European Super1600 championship, Nitiss has three victories in six starts this season, giving him the points lead with three races remaining in the season.

PEDAL FOR THE MEDAL: X Games Los Angeles will represent the only opportunity for GRC Lites drivers to earn an X Games medal this season. None of the drivers competing have any X Games experience, meaning that the event winner will score gold in their very first attempt.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Sunday’s GRC Lites event at X Games Los Angeles:

Geoff Sykes, Driver, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: I’m stoked on being at X Games. I always went to the events as a kid, through Southern California, San Francisco, and back to LA. I’ve always followed it, always gone just to watch, and now to be in a competition is pretty surreal. Not only that, but for it to be in my backyard, and to be a part of the last X Games in LA, is one of the biggest things for me. The course is going to be interesting, because we don’t get to see it until pretty much the day of the race thanks to the schedule. I think it’s going to be interesting to learn the course so fast. It’s all going to happen all at once, and it’s going to add into the energy of everything.

Mitchell deJong, Driver, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: I’m really looking forward to this race. This is where I first saw rally, and it’s pretty surreal to actually race it now. It’s a pretty prestigious event. I’m very thankful to be here. This season, we’ve had our struggles, but hopefully we’ve got our bad races out of the way. It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s been a good learning year so far.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 42
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 30
  3. Austin Dyne, 28
  4. Kevin Eriksson, 28
  5. Alexander Westlund, 28

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Lites Race Recap: Bristol Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: For the second time in a row, Joni Wiman won a GRC Lites event, this time at Bristol Motor Speedway. He beat Austin Dyne and Alexander Westlund to secure the victory.

HEAT RECAPS: GRC Lites ran a total of four heat races, two per group, and each had a different winner. Sebastian Eriksson and Westlund won the first pair of heats, run on Friday, while Wiman and Kevin Eriksson won the second pair. Sebastian Eriksson and Westlund finished second in the second heats, allowing them to move onto the final, and Geoff Sykes and Dyne advanced via the last chance qualifier.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: The six-lap final had to be reset after a scary accident that saw Kevin Eriksson land on his roof heading out of the track’s gravel section; neither he nor Sebastian Eriksson would return to the track when the race was restarted.

The race would be resumed with all drivers in their original starting spots, meaning Wiman was the only driver on the front row. He would have a clean start, allowing him to easily put distance on the field. With nobody ahead of him, Dyne had a clear lane and drove a clean race to score second place.

RESULTS: The results from GRC Lites at Bristol Motor Speedway:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93
  2. Austin Dyne, #99
  3. Alexander Westlund, #55
  4. Geoff Sykes, #65
  5. Sebastian Eriksson, #37
  6. Kevin Eriksson, #39
  7. Harry Cheung, #88
  8. Halid Avdagic, #4
  9. Mitchell deJong, #24

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 42
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 30
  3. Austin Dyne, 28
  4. Alexander Westlund, 28
  5. Kevin Eriksson, 28
  6. Geoffrey Sykes, 22
  7. Mitchell deJong, 21
  8. Halid Avdagic, 19
  9. Harry Cheung, 18

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Lites Race Preview: Bristol Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: After a popular and successful debut event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, GRC Lites will run their second of six 2013 events at Bristol.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.

LAST RACE: The inaugural GRC Lites event came down to a battle between two up-and-coming Nordic stars, as Finland’s Joni Wiman and Sweden’s Sebastian Eriksson won the two heat races to earn first-row starting spots. While Eriksson took the early lead, Wiman made a late pass to score the first victory.

THE TRACK: Bristol will feature many of the same features at all Global Rallycross tracks, including an even mix of dirt and paved surface (in this case, concrete) and the signature tabletop jump. Part of the layout will go through the infield of the oval track.

A WINNING PEDIGREE: Joni Wiman may be a newcomer to racing in the United States, but he certainly has had his share of high-profile experience behind the wheel. Before making the jump to rallycross, the Finn had been making a name for himself in single-seater racing, including the ADAC Formel Masters series in Germany. Since jumping to closed cockpit racing, he has been coached by one of the sport’s best: Marcus Gronholm, himself a winner of five Global Rallycross events in 2011 and 2012.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Saturday’s GRC Lites event at Bristol Motor Speedway:

Joni Wiman, Driver, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites: The track looks special. I’ve never done ovals, but I’m waiting to have a good race and go forward with the car. I hadn’t done much testing before New Hampshire—I’d only driven 25 laps on snow and ice, and everything was new. But the car is very easy to drive, and there’s nothing to complain about.

Austin Dyne, Driver, #99 Royal Purple GRC Lites: I think it’ll be cool going back on the banking. I thought it was really fun, but it’ll be different in the rally car. I don’t know if we’ll be sliding, but I’m optimistic. It’s my favorite short track in America, so I’m excited to be here, and optimistic about how I’m going to do. I’m going to try to make the final again.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 21
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 18
  3. Kevin Eriksson, 15
  4. Mitchell deJong, 13
  5. Alexander Westlund, 12

GRC TV: New Hampshire Lites Recap

GRC TV’s Kate Osborne recaps the first-ever GRC Lites race, held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11. Joni Wiman, protege of Global Rallycross veteran Marcus Gronholm, won the event over Sebastian Eriksson and Kevin Eriksson.

GRC Lites Race Recap: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: After a hard-fought battle, Joni Wiman defeated Sebastian Eriksson for the victory in the first-ever GRC Lites race, held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

HEAT RECAPS: The two heat races were won by Sebastian Eriksson and Wiman, respectively, with Kevin Eriksson and Mitchell deJong also advancing directly to the final. Alexander Westlund won a rough-and-tumble main event, as Austin Dyne managed to avoid Harry Cheung’s accident in the chicane

MAIN EVENT RECAP: Six cars started the first-ever GRC Lites final, which took place between the Supercar LCQ and main event. Sebastian Eriksson took the lead initially over Joni Wiman, leaving the rest of the field to fight for third place.

Wiman shadowed Sebastian Eriksson for the first three laps of the ten-lap event, taking the joker on the fourth lap. Eriksson would take the joker lap soon thereafter, as Wiman caught up and made what would be the winning pass.

Sebastian Eriksson would continue to challenge, but Wiman would hold him off for the first victory in GRC Lites history. Kevin Eriksson, son of GRC Lites mastermind Andreas Eriksson, finished third after making a gutsy pass in the outside groove on the dirt section.

RESULTS: The results of today’s Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, #37
  3. Kevin Eriksson, #39
  4. Mitchell deJong, #24
  5. Alexander Westlund, #55
  6. Austin Dyne, #99
  7. Halid Avdagic, #4
  8. Geoffrey Sykes, #65
  9. Harry Cheung, #88

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 21
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 18
  3. Kevin Eriksson, 15