The first American round of the nine-race Global Rallycross season took place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11. The thrilling event wasn’t settled until the final corner, when Toomas Heikkinen made the pass on Tanner Foust as he spun into the elevated hairpin. GRC TV’s Kate Osborne was there with a recap of all the action, including interviews with podium finishers Heikkinen, Patrik Sandell, and Brian Deegan.
IN BRIEF: Toomas Heikkinen won his second consecutive Global Rallycross race, taking the Sylvania Silverstar zXe at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after a last-corner accident ended Tanner Foust’s dominant run toward the finish.
HEAT RECAPS: Ken Block, Heikkinen, and Foust won the three heat races, while Brian Deegan, Patrik Sandell, and Sverre Isachsen also advanced directly to the main event. Defending race winner Travis Pastrana, X Games Brazil gold medalist Scott Speed, and Bucky Lasek, advanced via the last chance qualifier.
MAIN EVENT RECAP: Foust and Heikkinen pinched Block at the first corner, with Foust and eventually Sandell making it through the squeeze and over the jump first. The rest of the field would settle in behind them, with every driver making it through at least one lap.
From there, it was Foust’s event to lose, as he pulled away from the quarreling vehicles of Sandell and Heikkinen. A flat tire ended Pastrana’s hopes of defending his victory, while Lasek’s engine blew on the eighth of ten laps in the final.
But as Foust raced toward the checkered flag, he slammed into the outside guardrail on the elevated hairpin, losing the lead in the main event for the second year in a row. Heikkinen, Sandell, and Deegan snuck by to finish first, second, and third, while Foust would have to settle for a fourth place run at New Hampshire for the second year in a row.
RESULTS: The results of today’s Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
- Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
- Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
- Travis Pastrana, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
- Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
- Scott Speed, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
- Nelson Piquet Jr., #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo
- Bryce Menzies, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
- Steve Arpin, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
- Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
QUOTES: A collection of quotes from after today’s Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “I think it was difficult for everyone, with the raining and drying. There were a lot of different things. For all of us, we had a tough day—it was tricky to change your setup every time. Even the qualification was a little bit different for everybody. But all in all, it was a great day.”
Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “When we had the drawing for the seeding, I was in the last group, and it was raining a lot before. Then it started to dry up, and dry up. Then I put my helmet on, and it starts to rain like crazy! So I knew that after seeding, I would be behind. That was not such a good start of the day, but that’s part of the game. Then I had an okay heat against Topi. In the final, I had a good start—we were able to do some good driving in the first two corners to pass some cars. I was hunting Tanner, but he did a really, really good job—I’m sorry for him that he had a crash at the end. Then Topi was driving really good. But at the end of the day, I’m super happy with being second.”
Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “It was a good race, I just ran my pace. I was kind of just hanging out there, and going ‘man, nothing’s going to happen up front, these guys are running pretty clean.’ Then I saw Tanner hit the wall on the last turn, so I just tried to sneak it in there. We almost came together, and had a little battle. I was able to come across the line in third, which is okay—a podium’s always good. But I come here and want to win races, and it still has eluded me this year. So I think I have some homework to do.”
Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “That was a tough way to end the race—that’s never fun! Topi was pressuring for the whole race, and then on the very last straightaway, it seemed like he had a little bit of a run. So I thought I’d play it safe—my spotter said he had a chance on the inside, so I played it safe and hit the brakes on the inside corner to protect the turn. But there’s just gravel from all the rain, dragging that mud out. As soon as I touched the brakes, I knew I was in for a pretty wild ride. The car just rotated, went straight into the wall, and then was face-to-face with Brian coming in at 100 miles per hour! The first events of the year, the first six seconds have been the most exciting, and this one, it was the last six. I don’t know what hurts more, but it was a pretty exciting day. Hopefully it was a good show.”
FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from today’s race at New Hampshire:
- This was the second victory of Toomas Heikkinen’s Global Rallycross career, and his second in a row. He has finished on the podium and won his heat in all four races so far this year, the only driver to do so.
- This was the third win of the season for OlsbergsMSE, following Speed’s victory at X Games Brazil and Heikkinen’s win at X Games Munich. This was also the team’s second podium sweep of the season, after Brazil.
- Fords have now swept the top five at two Global Rallycross events this year: Brazil and New Hampshire.
- Patrik Sandell scored his best career Global Rallycross finish by placing second at New Hampshire. He now has two podium finishes in four career GRC starts.
- Brian Deegan finished third for the second year in a row at New Hampshire. This was his first podium of the season, and his best finish since placing second in last year’s season finale.
- Tanner Foust and Ken Block both scored top five finishes for the second year in a row at New Hampshire. Foust finished fourth in both races, while Block finished fifth each year.
- Only four drivers—Deegan, Foust, Block, and Travis Pastrana—have made it to both finals at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Dave Mirra, who placed 10th last year, did not advance past his heat race and finished 13th.
- Subaru placed two drivers in a main event for the second time this season, after the second X Games Munich event. Sverre Isachsen placed sixth and Bucky Lasek finished eighth, both season-best runs.
- Toomas Heikkinen, 76
- Tanner Foust, 51
- Brian Deegan, 47
- Patrik Sandell, 46
- Liam Doran, 43
- Ford, 147
- Dodge, 43
- Subaru, 41
Thursday’s Global Rallycross race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the first of six American-based races on this year’s schedule. But it’s also the first of four races in the next five weeks, comprising the most action-packed section of the 2013 season.
After racing at New Hampshire, drivers will compete in the inaugural event at Bristol Motor Speedway on July 20, followed by X Games Los Angeles on August 4 and another first-time race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 10.
That means that drivers like Patrik Sandell, who have been competing in numerous other events during GRC off weeks, will be well prepared for a greater workload.
“I feel super confident,” Sandell said, after racing in his native Sweden last weekend. “I was racing the full weekend, and I’ve been racing almost every day since Munich, it feels like. From Munich, we went home Monday and Tuesday, got back in the car and tested on Wednesday, had media day on Thursday, free on Friday, and raced Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m confident with the car, and confident with the team. I just need to go out there and enjoy it, and I think we can have a great result here. The only thing I need to figure out is how to stay out of trouble in the first corner.”
Two-time defending Global Rallycross champion Tanner Foust is himself a veteran of busy schedules. After competing in multiple rallycross championships last season, he has a level of insight on maintaining success during a busy schedule that few of his competitors can match.
“We have so many cars on our team, and so many races, that you’re really carrying the same car event to event,” Foust explained. “So it’s going to be important to look after your machine, and remember the things that you wanted to adjust, keep track of, or change, from one event to the next—to keep diligent notes on that so you’re not relearning the car every single event.”
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish
IN BRIEF: Global Rallycross returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the second time on July 11, for the fourth event of nine on the 2013 series schedule.
TUNE IN INFORMATION:
- Thursday, July 11, 5:30 PM ET on ESPN 3
- Saturday, July 13, 7:30 PM ET on ESPN
ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.
LAST RACE: Toomas Heikkinen broke through at Munich for his first-ever X Games gold medal, beating Liam Doran and Tanner Foust for the victory. It was the second leg of a doubleheader in Germany, after Doran, Ken Block, and Heikkinen finished 1-2-3 in the first race.
DRIVER CHANGES: Two drivers who competed at Brazil, Travis Pastrana and Nelson Piquet Jr., will return to the seats of their respective cars after missing the Munich round. Pastrana will drive the #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart that Timur Timerzyanov handled in Germany, while Piquet will replace Guiga Spinelli, who took the #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo to its first main event appearance in the second Munich race.
THE TRACK: New Hampshire features a 60-40 split of pavement and dirt, as well as a set of new and unique challenges. Unlike most Global Rallycross tracks, the joker lap at NHMS actually features a longcut, while an elevated hairpin serves as the last of eight turns on the layout.
IF YOU WANT TO WIN, EMPLOY A FINN: Toomas Heikkinen’s early season dominance has him on the path to a record-setting year. He became the first driver since Tanner Foust (in 2011) to score podium finishes in each of his first three starts, while he and Samuel Hubinette (in 2012) are the only drivers to score bonus points in each of their first three races of a season. Furthermore, Heikkinen’s 55 points are the most ever scored by a driver through three rounds of Global Rallycross competition.
FAMILIAR FACE, FRIENDLY PLACE: Travis Pastrana returns to Global Rallycross in New Hampshire after missing the X Games Munich doubleheader. The first round of the US-based schedule was good to Pastrana last year: after finishing last at the previous round, Pastrana won his heat race and the final, taking his only victory of the season in the process.
QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Thursday’s GRC Lites event:
Toomas Heikkinen, Driver, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “Of course, it’s always nice to come to the US, and I’m so happy that we lead the points. But we have to concentrate, because the series is so long. We have nine races, six left, and we have to concentrate on the races, go race by race.“
Tanner Foust, Driver, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “We’re using some different parts of the track—some places more, some places less. There’s more dirt, and maybe less distance. But either way, this will be our first SMI return visit. I’m excited to see how much repeat business we get from last year’s show.”
Bucky Lasek, Driver, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: “New Hampshire has been the best venue for the US. They really stepped it up this year with the track, bringing a good dirt jump, added to it. It looks like long straights, there’s going to be some good passing. I’m looking forward to getting in my Subaru STI and showing some speed.”
Patrik Sandell, Driver, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “For me, it’s good to be here. I’ve never been on a track like this, never seen anything like this. It’s a big track. I think the way they’re building the tracks now is good because we have a way to show the sport, and a bit of everything—we have some dirt, we have the jump, and we have long straightaways, so I think we will have some good action.”
- Toomas Heikkinen, 55
- Liam Doran, 43
- Tanner Foust, 37
- Scott Speed, 32 (tie)
- Brian Deegan, 32 (tie)
- Ford, 109
- Dodge, 27
- Subaru, 21
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish
X Games in Munich had its ups and downs. The good thing is that I feel very confident that I’ve got the speed to fight for the top positions. The bad thing is that there were too many bad crashes in the first corner.
On Saturday we had to face the rain. The OMSE team provided my Ford Fiesta ST with a great setup for the wet and I could qualify to the final after finishing 2nd in my heat after Tanner Foust.
In the final I got a good start and during the first lap I advanced to third position, when the heat was red flagged. In the second attempt I again had a good start, but in the first corner I got so badly hit that I spun a 720 and broke a steering arm. Over and out for that day. I remember sitting in the car and being very upset.
On Sunday I were fastest on the practice and set the third time on the qualification. During the first heat I struggled with a electrical problem, which caused a loss of power and I ended 3rd. This meant I had to drive LCQ to try and reach the final. During LCQ I, again, had a good start and took the lead. After some laps they red flagged the heat, due to a car that was standing in a bad position on the track. In the re-start I got so badly hit, that the front corner of my car was completely wrecked. For the second day in a row it was over and out in the first corner.
To summarize X Games Munich - forget the race, remember the experience. I know that the speed is there and I feel confident in the car, but I need to figure out what to do to avoid being crashed out in the first corner…
Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com
Munich is only one week away and I’m beyond excited. The fact that it will be two X Games races is awesome and very good for us now when we want to make the sport and X Games even bigger. The track looks really exciting, starting with a long straight and a pretty fast first left corner, where it should be possible to drive two cars next to each other. After that it’s a short straight into a sharp left turn where you have to be on the inside to get out alive. Then we go on to the mud and I will try to keep it clean. To sum it up, it’s a great course! I’m really pumped to race there.
The feeling I have now when I just finished a long Mountainbike ride and is planning todays gocart training, is really good. I feel that I have adapted to rallycross rather quick and I’m starting to understand how to get the most out of the car.
A couple of weeks ago we drove with the Supercars in Stockholm during the Swedish Touring Car Championship.
The course was built on a racetrack for horses and it was close to 20.000 people there. When we drove, everyone stood up and wondered what happened. Imagine you had been looking on racing cars the whole day with no sliding at all..! We started 4 cars next to each other and passed each other in every corner. And all drivers made the deal before the start that we should see all corners through the side window.. We gave them a great show and I won both races!
Today, Friday, we celebrate midsummer here in Sweden. We will dance around a pole with flowers, we will also have flowers in our hair and sing songs with a “snaps” in our hands!
Wir sehen uns in Munich, SANDELL #18
Follow me on, facebook, twitter, instagram, @patriksandell
Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com
I started my athlete career when I was 6 years old. I started with ice hockey and the clear goal was to go all the way to NHL!
I was not really a talent but I practiced more than most other children and I learned fast. When I turned 14 I was chosen to play with the boys who were one year older than me and that made me develop.
When I played hockey my dad took me to local rallies, but I thought it was dark, cold and boring to see. But when I was 15 years old I got to drive for the first time and I liked it right away!
After that I drove rallycross light in the junior category for two seasons. Motorsport started to take over my life and hockey started to come in second place.
In the middle of all rallycross driving I told my dad that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and start driving rally. He told me that he would help and support me but he also told me that I needed to sort out the finance to buy à rally car by myself.
I went to McDonald’s and applied for a job with the motivation – “I need 25.000 SEK (3.500 dollars) to buy a rally car.” I got the job!
After I had earned 15.000 SEK McDonald’s sponsored me with 10.000 SEK. I was really proud when I went to my dad with the money and together we bought a VW Golf TGI from 1979. This was 1999.
After a lot of crashes I finally won a local rally championship in my VW Golf GTI and when I was on the prize ceremony and got interviewed, I got the question “What is the goal with your rally career?”
I answered as confident as I have since that day, “I am going to be best in the world” Everyone in the room laughed. “It’s not possible when you come from our little town to be the best in the world and so no,” they told me. And exactly in that moment I decided to do everything in my power, day and night, to reach where I am today. But I still have a bit to go, and I will do it, no matter what.
So with this I want to thank all of you that laughed at me that day, you made me who I am today. Thank you!
Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com
After a (to say the least) different weekend in Barcelona I’m now sitting in Beijing and drinking my last good cup of coffee for a week.
I’m waiting for a girl named Frances. She is going to take me to the train station and from there we are traveling to Zhengzhoudong, which I have no idea where it is. But after many years in the most fun situations and strange places in the world I’m not worried. When I get there I’ll be having rally schools for 5 days, witch means I will get a lot of seat time.
I have during 2010-2012 been driving in the Chinese Rally Championship. This is a championship that is really great right now, the car market is still really strong here in China. Another thing that is great about China is if you have a couple of extra kilos that you want to get rid of it solves itself. I have planned to lose 0.5kilos on this trip.
This blog was meant to sum up what happened in Barcelona, I arrived on Thursday evening, after only 3 hours in the air. The competitions in Spain and Germany are the one that are closest to Sweden.
On Friday we made a media event for Ford Europe. About 30 journalists experienced our extreme Ford Fiesta ST for real by getting a ride with me, Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust and Topi Heikkinen. It is always fun to see the reactions I get during and after I have given someone their first ride, they either love or hate it, but it always is a memory for life!
During the same time we also drove a small shakedown/test that went really good, I felt that my go-cart driving is giving results and I felt ready to get my second X Games medal.
On the race day I woke up one hour before the alarm clock and felt that this was my day! When I got to the Olympic Stadium we got the message that the race was going to be delayed and the possibility to practice on the course was non-existent before the qualification time, but even that I saw from the positive side.
Then when the rain came I was standing on the bleachers and looking out over the course and I caught myself smiling. Unlike many of the other drivers that afternoon I saw the rain as a positive thing. I was determined that no matter what, this was my day. I love when I get that feeling!
But eventually it came to a point where it would not be safe to go true with the competition, which I completely respect! I was still positive about everything, but in the evening when I really realized that I wanted to drive today, I got disappointed that my day went down with the rain.
Now I take this great feeling with me to Germany and I will again go for my next X Games medal… But first there will be 5 days of rally driving and losing 0.5kilos in China…
Adiós Barcelona, nos vemos el año que viene / SANDELL #18
With only a single day of track time—including practice, seeding, and the race itself—X Games Barcelona offers a unique challenge to the teams of Global Rallycross: trying to make the car as fast and driveable as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Those limitations inspired numerous teams to head out of the city over the course of the weekend, bringing their cars to various locations in order to experiment and gather data.
The biggest event, staged by Ford, took place at the Parcmotor circuit in Castelloli. Five Fiesta ST drivers, including Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan, Patrik Sandell, and Toomas Heikkinen of OlsbergsMSE and Ken Block of Hoonigan Racing Division, used the time both to shake down their cars and promote the race to the media.
“We were on kind of a large go-kart track that actually worked well for testing tight turns in the rallycross cars,” said Foust. “It was mainly a media event for Ford, and we gave many people rides. We didn’t really change the cars much because it was tarmac and it didn’t really affect how we would run the car here. But it showed us any weak links in the motor package and made sure the cars were running, and it was a ton of fun.”
“I did two days of testing and this media day all combined,” adds Block. “It was a very cool facility. I got to do some testing on a nice little kart track, and it was just trying to keep progressing the setup of what we have on our current car and test some things for launches, that type of stuff.”
“I just focused on myself and finding the speed in the car,” continued Sandell, “because the test was completely on tarmac and (the race) is completely on dirt. We just kept the setup we had from Brazil and tried to get the good feeling from the driver’s seat. I found a really good feeling, so I’m confident.”
But the Ford teams weren’t the only ones who took to the track to prepare for the tight Barcelona circuit. The Subaru PUMA Rallycross team, which will make its season debut on Sunday, sent all three of its cars to Circuit Can Padro.
“(We) took the first part of the day to go through all the cars, all the systems, and made sure everything was okay and ready for race day—that the cars are making full power and doing everything that they should,” said Clint Fast, team manager. “And we spent the second part of the day working on some things that we think are going to be important on this track. We all know that it’s going to be fairly low grip out there. The dirt is quite wet, the circuit is 90% dirt, which for us is a difference from last year, where we were 90% pavement. So we focused in on making the cars driveable in a low-grip situation.”
Meanwhile, Marklund Motorsport and Global Rallycross newcomer Carlos Sainz had their own test session in Lleida in order to prepare for Sunday’s race. Primary driver Anton Marklund served as one of Sainz’s engineers on the test and was pleased to report significant improvements.
“We were trying to get better suspension and more of the power in the ground in that test,” explained Marklund. “It was all gravel, and it was pretty loose, so I think it will be like here. We had two longer corners and a lot of hairpins. What we were without was the jump, but the car was jumping pretty good in Brazil, so I think the car will fit to this track.”
Marklund also praised Sainz, the two-time World Rally champion and 2010 Dakar Rally victor, on his ability to bring the car up to speed. “He has so much time in a rally car, and he’s so experienced, that he can really teach both me and the team a lot of stuff. He has worked with and developed the Polo WRC, so he knows how to get the car quicker and quicker.”
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:
- 264: World Rally Championship starts
(Carlos Sainz 196, Patrik Sandell 41, Ken Block 22, Travis Pastrana 5)
- 191: NASCAR national series starts
(Scott Speed 158, Travis Pastrana 19, Steve Arpin 14)
- 87: X Games medals
(Dave Mirra 24, Bucky Lasek/Travis Pastrana 17, Brian Deegan 16, Tanner Foust 6, Ken Block 3, Liam Doran/Toomas Heikkinen/Patrik Sandell/Scott Speed 1)
- 43: International rallycross victories (Supercars)
(Sverre Isachsen 23, Tanner Foust 12, Liam Doran 5, Brian Deegan/Travis Pastrana/Scott Speed 1)
- 29: Rally America overall victories
(Travis Pastrana 17, Ken Block 12)
- 28: Dakar Rally starts
(Nani Roma 17, Carlos Sainz 6, Guiga Spinelli 5)
- 28: Formula 1 starts
(Scott Speed 28)
- 23: Race of Champions selections
(Carlos Sainz 9, Travis Pastrana 8, Tanner Foust 3, Brian Deegan/Nani Roma/Scott Speed 1)
- 6: Short course off-road championships
(Brian Deegan 4, Bryce Menzies 2)
- 6: International rallycross championships
(Sverre Isachsen 3, Tanner Foust 2, Anton Marklund 1)
Photo credit: Alison Merion Padron