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Heikkinen Wins Third Consecutive Race of Sylvania SilverStar zXe Cup

Toomas Heikkinen’s dominance of this Global Rallycross season has been well documented, with his five consecutive victories and seven consecutive podiums the biggest story of the 2013 season. In that span, Heikkinen has also opened up a dominant lead in the Sylvania SilverStar zXe Cup, bringing him to the cusp of a $20,000 bonus to be awarded on September 22 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

In Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Heikkinen won the third race of the program, beating Tanner Foust and Sverre Isachsen in a repeat of the X Games Los Angeles podium.

It was Heikkinen’s third win in three zXe Cup events, the others coming at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11 and Bristol Motor Speedway on July 20. With 63 points, he holds a dominant 20-point lead in the four-race chase.

Ken Block, who had entered Saturday’s event only nine points behind Heikkinen, maintained second place in the standings with 43. He and Heikkinen qualified first and second, and each won both of their heat races, setting up a great challenge in the final. But a broken hose clamp at the start of the main event forced Block to pull off immediately, relegating him to eighth place.

Four drivers—Heikkinen, Block, Tanner Foust, and Brian Deegan—remain mathematically eligible for the zXe Cup in Charlotte. Foust finished second in Atlanta, chasing down Heikkinen until a flat left front tire with three laps to go mitigated his chances. Deegan ran third for most of the final until a mechanical failure ended his race after five of 10 laps.

Full Sylvania SilverStar zXe Cup standings, after three of four races, are as follows:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 63
  2. Ken Block, 43
  3. Tanner Foust, 42
  4. Brian Deegan, 42
  5. Sverre Isachsen, 40
  6. Patrik Sandell, 37
  7. Steve Arpin, 24
  8. Scott Speed, 23
  9. Dave Mirra, 23
  10. Timur Timerzyanov, 21
  11. Bucky Lasek, 19
  12. Bryce Menzies, 13
  13. Travis Pastrana, 10
  14. Liam Doran, 8
  15. Henning Solberg, 7
  16. Nelson Piquet Jr., 7

Battle for SYLVANIA SilverStar® zXe Cup Heats Up as Drivers Get Ready for Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA., August 6, 2013 –Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen may hold the lead in the chase for the SYLVANIA SilverStar® zXe Global Rallycross Cup challenge after winning the first two races, but it will undoubtedly be a tight competition as some of today’s best rallycross drivers attempt to knock Topi out of the No. 1 spot in Atlanta. Drivers like Ken Block, Brian Deegan and Patrik Sandell are hot on Heikkinen’s tail in point standings and anything goes as drivers prep for the third of four races for the SYLVANIA zXe Cup series.

New to GRC in 2013, the SYLVANIA zXe Cup and its $20,000 prize will go to the driver that earns the most championship points in four of the series’ U.S.-based events this season. The first of the final two races for a shot at the SYLVANIA zXe Cup kicks off this Saturday, August 10, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN 2. The last race in SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting’s four-race chase takes place in Charlotte on September 22.

Heikkinen perhaps has been the biggest surprise, setting records in the overall GRC series and taking home his second gold in the X Games. But drivers like Ken Block and Brian Deegan are not trailing far behind and have been on the podium in recent races. Patrick Sandell and fan favorite Tanner Foust have consistently posted strong results and are notable competitors entering into this next race.

On the manufacturer side, Ford has swept the podium in both of the first two SYLVANIA zXe Cup races.  While it may not sit well in garages of the other teams, it will add some flavor to the competition in Atlanta.

“It’s impressive that Topi swept the first two races in the chase for the SYLVANIA zXe Cup, but we’ve also seen some heated competition. GRC is so unpredictable that there is certainly some vulnerability for Heikkinen in that no. 1 spot,” said Joe Verbanic,  Sales and Marketing Director, SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting. “Nothing intimidates these drivers, and I’m expecting they will lay it on the line in Atlanta as they position themselves for the finals in Charlotte.”

To see photos from each event and follow the point standings battle for the SYLVANIA SilverStar® zXe Cup, visitwww.facebook.com/SylvaniaAutomotive or Racer’s special SYLVANIA-sponsored Global Rallycross news section. For more information on SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting products, visit www.sylvania.com/auto.

2013 SYLVANIA SilverStar® zXe Cup Point Standings after the Second of Four Events

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

zXe Cup Proven to Produce Exciting Global Rallycross Action

New Hampshire Motor Speedway brought the announcement of the Sylvania SilverStar zXe Cup, a four-race championship within the nine-race Global Rallycross schedule that will award the winner a $20,000 prize. Toomas Heikkinen took the initial victory at NHMS, with races at Bristol Motor Speedway on July 20, Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 10, and Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 22 completing the four-round slate.

Last year, Global Rallycross offered a similar program, with the driver scoring the most points in three races earning a cash bonus of his own. In 2012, the races took place at Texas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with each race presenting its own challenges to the field.

Marcus Gronholm opened the challenge at Texas, beating OlsbergsMSE teammates Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan to the line and earning the early lead. But Travis Pastrana would win the second race of the challenge over Samuel Hubinette and Deegan, with Foust falling to fourth in that race after briefly stalling on the elevated hairpin.

The battle would come down to Las Vegas, with Foust and Deegan tied for the championship lead at 32 points, followed by Hubinette with 28, Pastrana with 23, and three drivers tied with 21. Foust and Deegan would both win their heat races, setting up a winner-take all battle in the main event.

Foust would start the final on the inside, with Deegan on the outside. They would run neck-and-neck through the first corner, but Deegan slid to the outside on corner exit, allowing Toomas Heikkinen to sneak by as Foust grabbed hold of the lead. Both drivers would take the shortcut immediately, but the lead would never change hands, as Foust would win his first race of the season and the cash bonus.