IN BRIEF: If you think you’ve heard this one before, you may be right—for the second race in a row, Toomas Heikkinen, Tanner Foust, and Sverre Isachsen comprised the podium in Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
HEAT RECAPS: Heikkinen swept both heat 1A and 2A, earning two bonus points, while Scott Speed earned the second transfer spot from 2A. Ken Block swept heats 1B and 2B as well, taking Steve Arpin with him into the final. Tanner Foust earned a front row spot by winning 2C, while 1C winner Brian Deegan also transferred. In the last chance qualifier, Dave Mirra passed Timur Timerzyanov to take the victory, while Sverre Isachsen earned the final transfer spot.
MAIN EVENT RECAP: Heikkinen’s quick start may have been overshadowed by Block’s failure to launch, a mechanical problem that relegated him to one lap completed. From there, Foust attempted to chase down his OlsbergsMSE teammate to no avail, as Heikkinen’s pure pace and a flat tire kept the defending series champion at bay.
Deegan seemed like a lock for third place until a late mechanical failure sent him off, yielding the final podium spot to Isachsen. A persistent Mirra, in his first final of the year, held on for fourth, with Timerzyanov in fifth. The cars that failed to finish belonged to Deegan, Speed, Block, and Arpin.
RESULTS: The results from Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
- Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
- Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
- Timur Timerzyanov, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
- Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Scott Speed, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
- Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
- Steve Arpin, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
- Henning Solberg, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
- Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
Toomas Heikkinen, Driver, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “I think the pressure is gone right now. We have a long holiday after this one, and I think I’ll just go home and relax and test. The team has done good work, and that’s why I’m here. Without Andreas Eriksson, this is not possible. I want to win every race!”
Tanner Foust, Driver, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “I was on the outside of the front row. I kept thinking of this quote that somebody told me from Mike Tyson, which is ‘everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.’ That sums up, I think, turn one in rallycross pretty well. My plan was to go big on the outside and hopefully not the outside barriers. It worked, but I basically blocked for Topi while everybody tried to hit him! Then I followed Topi for a little while. I started catching him—I think he was getting stuck in the gravel, and we were getting a line behind him that was pretty good. I thought I had something had for him, but then with three laps left I got a puncture on the front left. Then it became total survival mode—I can’t believe nobody passed me, really, because we overshot so many turns trying to slow down. It must have been mayhem behind. Three laps on a front flat, especially, we’re pretty lucky to finish on the podium as well. I’ll take it.”
Sverre Isachsen, Driver, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: “I’m really happy right now. Today was extra good, because we had to go through the LCQ, and in the final I was completely last on the grid. So it was even better for me personally to fight, and it was really a hard fight the whole way, of course. Third place this weekend as well is perfect. If you come to the final, everything can happen.”
Dave Mirra, Driver, #40 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: “I got spun in the corner after the jump, but I fought back. Things happen in rallycross. I was very, very happy with my pace—I know in the LCQ I was reeling people in in that section, the whole dirt section, so I felt like I showed that I could drive at a fast pace. The crew really, really work hard to get that car dialed, and I’ve been sitting back waiting. Now that it’s here, it’s fun to go out and drive a car that you know is reliable and fast, and you know that you can put some times down. I’m very excited. The Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team did really well. They’re awesome, they work hard, and they get the credit—then I get the car and get to drive it. It’s pretty awesome.”
Timur Timerzyanov, Driver, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart: “That was a difficult race. We started with one setting in the morning and then we changed the car around, and actually had some problems with the clutch on the drive today. After that, we tried to keep that on. We were lucky that we had a brilliant start today in the two heats, and in the final we didn’t have a good start. Ken Block was stuck in the front and we had to wait to go from the line. The problem was in the gravel—the gravel section was good for us when we were in a fresh one, but after a few laps the gravel was gone and there was tarmac. And the car is so long that we can’t keep turning all the way around the corner.”
FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
- This was the fifth win of Toomas Heikkinen’s Global Rallycross career, with all five having come in the past five races. He is now tied with Marcus Gronholm for the all-time series win lead. With a 43 point lead, he can clinch the 2013 driver’s championship by simply starting a race with 16 or fewer cars.
- This was the sixth win in seven races this season for OlsbergsMSE.
- Tanner Foust scored his second runner-up finish in a row at Atlanta, after winning the silver medal at X Games Los Angeles. He is the only driver besides Heikkinen who remains mathematically eligible for the championship with two races to go.
- Sverre Isachsen finished third for the second race in a row, equaling his career best in GRC. Isachsen has made it to the past five finals and has three consecutive top-five finishes.
- Atlanta marked the first time since Las Vegas last October where Dave Mirra made it to a final. His fourth place finish is a career best for him in Global Rallycross competition.
- Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team placed two cars in the top five for the first time in their two seasons of Global Rallycross competition. Previously, their best had been to place both Mirra and Lasek in the top six at Las Vegas last October.
- Timur Timerzyanov scored a career best finish for Pastrana Racing by placing fifth. Saturday was also the first time that both Pastrana Racing cars finished in the top 10 of a Global Rallycross event.
- Toomas Heikkinen, 139
- Tanner Foust, 96
- Brian Deegan, 84
- Ken Block, 80
- Patrik Sandell, 75
- Sverre Isachsen, 65
- Scott Speed, 63
- Liam Doran, 59
- Steve Arpin, 58
- Bucky Lasek, 35
- Timur Timerzyanov, 34
- Travis Pastrana, 32
- Dave Mirra, 31
- Mattias Ekstrom, 26
- Anton Marklund, 26
- Bryce Menzies, 21
- Townsend Bell, 16
- Guilherme Spinelli, 14
- Nelson Piquet Jr., 13
- Rhys Millen, 13
- Buddy Rice, 7
- Henning Solberg, 7
- Mauricio Neves, 5
- Stephan Verdier, 5
- Edu Marques, 3
- David Sterckx, 1
- Ford, 264
- Subaru, 109
- Dodge, 94
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish