Tag Archives: Toomas Heikkinen

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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
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Global Rallycross Race Recap: Atlanta Motor Speedway

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:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  2. Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  3. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  4. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  5. Timur Timerzyanov, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  6. Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  7. Scott Speed, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  8. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
  9. Steve Arpin, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  10. Henning Solberg, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  11. Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  12. 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:

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 139
  2. Tanner Foust, 96
  3. Brian Deegan, 84
  4. Ken Block, 80
  5. Patrik Sandell, 75
  6. Sverre Isachsen, 65
  7. Scott Speed, 63
  8. Liam Doran, 59
  9. Steve Arpin, 58
  10. Bucky Lasek, 35
  11. Timur Timerzyanov, 34
  12. Travis Pastrana, 32
  13. Dave Mirra, 31
  14. Mattias Ekstrom, 26
  15. Anton Marklund, 26
  16. Bryce Menzies, 21
  17. Townsend Bell, 16
  18. Guilherme Spinelli, 14
  19. Nelson Piquet Jr., 13
  20. Rhys Millen, 13
  21. Buddy Rice, 7
  22. Henning Solberg, 7
  23. Mauricio Neves, 5
  24. Stephan Verdier, 5
  25. Edu Marques, 3
  26. David Sterckx, 1

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 264
  2. Subaru, 109
  3. Dodge, 94

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Global Rallycross Race Preview: Atlanta Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: Global Rallycross will end a stretch of six races in seven weeks at Atlanta Motor Speedway, making its debut at the Georgia track, while Toomas Heikkinen attempts to win his unprecedented fifth race in a row.

TUNE IN INFORMATION FOR RACE:

ENTRY LIST: CLICK HERE for the full entry list.

LIVE TIMING: CLICK HERE for Live Timing

LAST RACE: For the fourth straight event, Toomas Heikkinen walked out of the paddock with the biggest trophy—or, in this case, the most valuable medal. He won X Games Los Angeles after inheriting the lead from Sverre Isachsen, whose jump start forced him to sit in the penalty box. Isachsen would recover to win bronze, while Tanner Foust finished second to win silver.

DRIVER CHANGES: Both Pastrana Racing cars will feature different drivers than at X Games Los Angeles. Timur Timerzyanov, fresh off a guest drive in the second Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo, will take over Travis Pastrana’s #199 Dodge Dart, while World Rally veteran Henning Solberg replaces Bryce Menzies in the #99.

THE TRACK: Atlanta’s ten-corner layout runs clockwise, utilizing much of the tri-oval and pit road sections of the oval. The tabletop jump returns to the oval frontstretch, while two long straightaways mean that cars with higher horsepower may have an advantage.

A POTENTIAL CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: Points leader Toomas Heikkinen’s dominance has been so all-encompassing thus far, that he can actually clinch the season championship in Atlanta. He currently leads Tanner Foust by 39 points, with a maximum of 66 available in the next three races; if he leads by 44 or more after Atlanta, the championship will have been settled.

A NATURAL FIT: Though he may be making his Global Rallycross debut in Atlanta, Henning Solberg has connections throughout the garage. His crew chief, Ian Davies, worked with him in five non-consecutive World Rally Championship seasons. Earlier this year, he raced in European rallycross events, one of which saw X Games Los Angeles bronze medalist Sverre Isachsen serve as his team boss. He made it to the final there after beating current Pastrana Racing teammate Timur Timerzyanov for the last transfer spot in their semi-final, finishing fourth overall.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Saturday’s event at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

Henning Solberg, Driver, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart: “Everything can happen in rallycross. It can be a crash, it can be everything. I will try to come to the final, that’s my target, and I will see from there. (Toomas) Heikkinen has been very fast for four or five rounds. But it’s not easy to beat anyone, so we will see.“

Timur Timerzyanov, Driver, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart: “The season is not yet finished for the Dodge team, and I think we’re trying to develop something special. This track is more of a close track for up. It’s going to be the best track we have for this car, because there are long straights here.”

Tanner Foust, Driver, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “This is an event where we have very little time on the track, and those events usually benefit me because I have so much time in the car. But there’s possible rain, and there are some other cars in the paddock that have a little bit better rain setup than we do. It’s going to come down to a little bit of weather, and it’s going to come down to just figuring out, really quick, where you need to prioritize on the track to make up time.”

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 117
  2. Tanner Foust, 78
  3. Brian Deegan, 72
  4. Ken Block, 70
  5. Patrik Sandell, 69

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 224
  2. Subaru, 81
  3. Dodge, 75

Heikkinen’s Unprecedented Season Continues in Atlanta

For Toomas Heikkinen, this Global Rallycross season isn’t defined by what he has already accomplished. In other words, the driver whose most frequent quote is about taking the season “one race at a time” has plenty more to accomplish before the year is up.

Through six races, Heikkinen has become the first driver in GRC history to win three (and subsequently four) consecutive races, set a six-race record with 117 points, and is now tied for second on the all-time GRC wins list.

But none of those accomplishments will mean anything if he continues on his current pace—because what he can do in the next few races will set even more records.

The first accomplishment that Heikkinen can check off in Atlanta is perhaps the greatest: this year’s Supercar championship. If he brings a lead of 44 points or more into the September 22 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, every other driver will be eliminated from title contention. That might not be too difficult of a feat, as he already leads teammate Tanner Foust by 39.

With a victory, Heikkinen will also break the Global Rallycross record for most points scored in a season—134 points, as set by Tanner Foust in 2011. Foust took eight races to do so; if Heikkinen hits 135 points in Atlanta, it will have only taken him seven.

Two more wins this year would give Heikkinen sole possession of first place on the all-time Global Rallycross wins list. Former OlsbergsMSE teammate and fellow Finn Marcus Gronholm leads the all-time list with five victories; Heikkinen and Foust are tied for second with four.

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

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

Global Rallycross Race Recap: X Games Los Angeles

IN BRIEF: After becoming the first Global Rallycross driver to win three consecutive events at Bristol, Toomas Heikkinen did one better at X Games Los Angeles by winning his fourth straight main event. Tanner Foust and Sverre Isachsen completed the podium.

HEAT RECAPS: Isachsen, Liam Doran, Heikkinen, and Ken Block won the four heat races, while Brian Deegan, Patrik Sandell, Travis Pastrana, and Foust advanced by finishing in second. Rhys Millen and Scott Speed managed to advance via the last chance qualifier, which shrunk from 10 cars to five after a major incident at the start involving Anton Marklund and David Sterckx.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: Sverre Isachsen led the field into the first corner, but received a stop-and-go penalty for jumping the start and thus yielded the lead on the second lap. From there, Heikkinen inherited the lead and paced the field for the duration, pulling away from Foust a win of over four seconds.

Only two cars—those of Scott Speed and Liam Doran—failed to finish the race, while Ken Block completed the race with a blown tire and Brian Deegan and Patrik Sandell finished with significant front-end damage. Travis Pastrana held fourth place for most of the final before Rhys Millen made his way past in the late stages of the main event.

RESULTS: The results of Sunday’s Global Rallycross event at X Games Los Angeles:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  2. Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  3. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  4. Rhys Millen, #67 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
  5. Travis Pastrana, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  6. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
  7. Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  8. Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  9. Scott Speed, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  10. Liam Doran, #33 LD Motorsports MINI Countryman
  11. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  12. Stephan Verdier, #12 Verdier Racing Subaru WRX STI
  13. Bryce Menzies, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  14. Steve Arpin, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  15. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  16. David Sterckx, #14 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
  17. Anton Marklund, #92 Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo
  18. Timur Timerzyanov, #29 Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo

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

Toomas Heikkinen, Driver, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: It’s cool! It’s cool to have a lot of points. Still we’re leading, and now we have a little bit less pressure, but the next race is in six days, and we have work to do. I think the gap opened a little bit, because Tanner didn’t win his heat and I got the one extra point, plus three points more in the final. (Since last year) I just made my own work, what I had to do. I exercised at home and the gym to get myself ready for this season. Everything is good right now, and I’m not doing anything else than smiling.

Tanner Foust, Driver, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: It was a pretty productive weekend. It would have been nice to double gold, obviously, but I can’t complain, especially where I started in the final. It was not a good spot—I was outside of the second row, and I just watched the mayhem happen. I was thinking “oh, 10th place, okay,” and then all of a sudden, Ken spins, tires are flying everywhere, so I just took the outside line and ended up, I thought, in third, but I guess it was second. And I just followed Topi’s dust.

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Sverre Isachsen, Driver, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: It was awesome! I had a good start. They said it was a jump start, but anyway, we sat in the penalty box, took our punishment, and then went back in the race. It was a perfect race the whole way. Third place today is like winning for us at Subaru. Of course we’ll go for it in Atlanta as well. We’re taking the car small steps at a time and hopefully can try to get to the top.

Rhys Millen, Driver, #67 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster: I’m really, really happy—to not have driven the car for eight months, to do a shake down for literally a couple of hours, fly out of town and fly back in, (then) to win the LCQ and finish fourth from the back of the row. It’s just a testament to how strong and reliable that car is, and for me how much fun it is to drive.

Travis Pastrana, Driver, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart: Irwindale is awesome! We had our first NASCAR race out here, with the East-West shootout, and had a sixth there. (We were) fifth, so maybe if we keep coming back we’ll keep moving up the ladder! The guys worked real hard on the Discount Tire Dodge Dart. We avoided some carnage on the first lap, but we had an overheating issue. We’re working with a lot of stuff—we’ve just got to test, go with Bryce (Menzies). Every race we’ve struggled a bit to get going, but we’ve always been close at the end.

FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from Sunday’s Global Rallycross event at X Games Los Angeles:

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 117
  2. Tanner Foust, 78
  3. Brian Deegan, 72
  4. Ken Block, 70
  5. Patrik Sandell, 69
  6. Liam Doran, 59
  7. Scott Speed, 53
  8. Steve Arpin, 50
  9. Sverre Isachsen, 50
  10. Travis Pastrana, 32
  11. Bucky Lasek, 30
  12. Mattias Ekstrom, 26
  13. Anton Marklund, 26
  14. Timur Timerzyanov, 22
  15. Bryce Menzies, 21
  16. Dave Mirra, 18
  17. Townsend Bell, 16
  18. Guilherme Spinelli, 14
  19. Nelson Piquet Jr., 13
  20. Rhys Millen, 13
  21. Buddy Rice, 7
  22. Stephan Verdier, 5
  23. Mauricio Neves, 5
  24. Eduardo Marques, 3
  25. David Sterckx, 1

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 224
  2. Subaru, 81
  3. Dodge, 75

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Global Rallycross Race Preview: X Games Los Angeles

IN BRIEF: X Games Los Angeles will represent the fourth and final opportunity for Global Rallycross drivers to earn medals in 2013, as the event closes out its lengthy history in Southern California before moving to Austin next year.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.

LAST RACE: Toomas Heikkinen became the first driver in Global Rallycross history to win three consecutive races when he won the Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at Bristol Motor Speedway on July 20. Heikkinen beat Ken Block and Brian Deegan to the finish, while the lapped cars of Sverre Isachsen and Patrik Sandell rounded out the top five.

DRIVER CHANGES: A season-high 18 cars will compete at X Games Los Angeles, including three drivers—Rhys Millen and David Sterckx with Rhys Millen Racing, and Stephan Verdier with Verdier Racing—who will make their season debut. Travis Pastrana will return to the series, enabling Timur Timerzyanov to drive the second Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo alongside the returning Anton Marklund.

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.

HIGH-PROFILE DEBUT: Sunday’s race will mark the Global Rallycross debut for DRR-SH Racing, a partnership between IndyCar teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and SH Racing. Dreyer & Reinbold has fielded IndyCars since 2000, while SH Racing was a partner in Tony Kanaan’s Indianapolis 500-winning car this year. They will back Scott Speed and the #77 Ford Fiesta Star Car alongside OMSE2.

THREE FOR THREE: In the first year of multiple Global Rallycross competitions at X Games Events, three different drivers have won gold medals in the three events so far. Scott Speed won at X Games Foz do Iguacu, Liam Doran won at the first X Games Munich race, and Toomas Heikkinen won the second Munich gold. Heikkinen is the only driver to win medals in each event, taking silver at Foz do Iguacu and bronze in the other Munich race.

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

Anton Marklund, Driver, #92 Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo: It’s the first time I’m in the US, and it has been a great experience so far. This is the biggest event you can do in a rallycross car, so I’m very excited to be here. I’ve been very quick at the other events. I had second place in Brazil before the red flag, and then I had a puncture, and I was fourth in Munich, so the speed is there. I just need to be a little more lucky, and I’ll have the podium finish—that’s my goal for this race, to finish on the podium.

David Sterckx, Driver, #14 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster: I’m here to do a good impression. I’m hoping to be at least in the middle of the field. That will be really good, considering the knowledge I have of the car and GRC. Everything is new (for me)—rallycross is new, GRC is new, the car is new, the team is new. So there are a lot of new things.

Bryce Menzies, Driver, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart: I’m really looking forward to this race. My first race for Global Rallycross last year was this race, so coming back to it I feel a lot more confident. We’re still struggling a little bit with the cars, but we’re getting there. We’re pushing the cars more and starting to figure some stuff out. We jam pack it all into one day on Sunday—we’ve got practice, then qualifying, then heat races, so it’ll be one busy day. But I’m really looking forward to getting back into the Dodge Dart, and hoping to put it back on the box this weekend.

Dave Mirra, Driver, #40 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: I’m just excited to be out here in LA, competing in the Global Rallycross event, and hopefully I’ll bring home something substantial. I’d love to get back in the medal count again—it’s been a long time, but hopefully our Subarus are good and put on a good fight.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 96
  2. Brian Deegan, 62
  3. Tanner Foust, 61
  4. Patrik Sandell, 60
  5. Ken Block, 58

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 186
  2. Subaru, 60
  3. Dodge, 59

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Global Rallycross Mid-Season Review: OlsbergsMSE

There’s not much more to say about OlsbergsMSE than the obvious: they’re still the class of the field in Global Rallycross—although their best driver so far this year may have been a surprise.

The four OMSE Ford Fiesta STs rank in the first four spots in points through five races, with Toomas Heikkinen the surprise name on top. But not only is he leading, he’s also doing it by a wide margin: with 96 points, the Finnish driver has a 34-point advantage over teammate Brian Deegan, who ranks second in points.

With five consecutive podium finishes since the start of the season, Heikkinen is only the third driver in Global Rallycross history to accomplish that feat. After winning the second X Games Munich round, plus the first two United States races in New Hampshire and Bristol, he has also become the first driver to ever win three consecutive Global Rallycross events. He was also the only driver to win each of his heat races through New Hampshire, before a slow qualifying session and difficult heat group at Bristol put an end to that streak.

Deegan and two-time defending champion Tanner Foust, the series’ top two drivers last season, have been their usual selves so far as well. Each driver has made all five main events, with Foust taking bronze at X Games Munich and leading most of the New Hampshire main event, and Deegan scoring two consecutive podiums heading into X Games Los Angeles.

Patrik Sandell, in his first season in Global Rallycross, has also posted strong results. With two runner-up finishes at X Games Foz do Iguacu and New Hampshire, plus two heat wins at Bristol, he is fourth in the series standings, only two points behind Deegan for second and one behind Foust for third.

OMSE heads to X Games Los Angeles looking to make amends on a 2012 main event that saw two drivers suffer injuries and only Deegan on the podium. The last time GRC raced at Irwindale Speedway, OMSE won both races with ex-driver Marcus Gronholm, meaning there’s some strong history to build upon.

Global Rallycross Race Recap: Bristol Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: Toomas Heikkinen became the first driver to win three consecutive Global Rallycross events when he took the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway, beating Ken Block and Brian Deegan to the victory.

HEAT RECAPS: Global Rallycross returned to a two-heat system in Bristol, with Ken Block winning his heat pair and Patrik Sandell doing the same. But while Scott Speed won the first heat for the third group, a persistent Sverre Isachsen stole the second heat. Toomas Heikkinen, Liam Doran, and Steve Arpin also advanced from the heats; a star-studded last chance qualifier saw Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust, and Timur Timerzyanov advance.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: A rough-and-tumble first lap saw Block lose his top seed and lane advantage to Heikkinen for the second race in a row, though Isachsen also threatened to hold the lead. Heikkinen and Isachsen would make it out of the bottleneck first, though Block would regain second place quickly.

The rest of the race saw what was left of the field attempt to catch Heikkinen to no avail, as Block, Deegan, Isachsen (with a busted exhaust) and Sandell would be the only other finishers. Arpin, Foust, Timerzyanov, and Doran all suffered too much damage to continue beyond the race’s initial laps.

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

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  2. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
  3. Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  4. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  5. Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  6. Steve Arpin, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  7. Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  8. Timur Timerzyanov, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  9. Liam Doran, #33 LD Motorsports MINI Countryman
  10. Bryce Menzies, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  11. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  12. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI
  13. Scott Speed, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta

QUOTES: A collection of quotes from after today’s Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at Bristol Motor Speedway:

Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: I just tried to get a good start on the grid, and after that I chose the tight line on the inside corner, and that made the difference. Then I didn’t have mirrors on my car! (The win) feels alright, but I still have to concentrate on every race. Like I’ve said before, many times, we have to concentrate race by race. Of course there’s pressure, but I think my gap is quite good.

Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST: Topi came from the second row, didn’t qualify well, didn’t have great heats, and just got through the first turn. It’s just the crapshoot of rallycross. I did everything possible to win, and I just got booted around in the first turn. No matter how much effort you put in, it can still turn out completely the opposite. I’m very confident in what I’m doing in the car—the car is absolutely dialed and my team has worked really hard. The car is working for me perfectly, doing everything I want it to do, and I’m able to find the lines. As long as we can keep doing that, hopefully I can still be in the top range of qualifying, and I’ll keep doing everything I can.

Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: It was a battle, you know? We had the toughest qualifier. We had (Ken) Block, (Tanner) Foust, and (Toomas) Heikkinen, so it was like a main event. In the second round, we went out there, ended up going with Topi, had a go a few times, and busted up the car. We cracked the frame. I ended up across the finish line third and had to go to the last chance, but the mechanics fixed it up super quick and I went down there. They said to take it easy on the car, so I hung in there, cruised it, and won the last chance qualifier into the main event. That was my first goal. My second goal was, “if I can top three from the back row, I’ll be stoked.” So I came into the start on the inside, battling each other, and it’s kind of who’s the luckiest in the first turn. I came out in fourth or fifth, and I just started being consistent, trying to keep the car alive because it was shaking so bad—I was in survival mode. Guys started falling off, and I got up to third. There will be more wars to battle, X Games is coming up, and that’s the one I want to win. I know I have the speed to do it, it just comes down to a lot of luck.

Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: I was first for about five meters! That was the difference in the final. But somebody hit me quite hard in the rear and broke my exhaust. So I was in the lead, but the car was not running well. All of the other guys see that we’re coming up now, and trying to push the limit every time. The team is working really hard now, and doing the best we can do with this car. It’s getting better and better in every race. And to stay in the first row in the main is very good.

FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from today’s Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at Bristol Motor Speedway:

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 96
  2. Brian Deegan, 62
  3. Tanner Foust, 61
  4. Patrik Sandell, 60
  5. Ken Block, 58

SYLVANIA SILVERSTAR ZXE CUP POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 41
  2. Ken Block, 32
  3. Patrik Sandell, 31
  4. Brian Deegan, 30
  5. Sverre Isachsen, 25

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 186
  2. Subaru, 60
  3. Dodge, 59

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC TV: Bristol Friday Recap

Global Rallycross visits Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time on July 20, staging races in both the Supercars and GRC Lites classes. Supercar drivers Bucky Lasek, Timur Timerzyanov, and Toomas Heikkinen look forward to the fifth round of their season, while Austin Dyne anticipates the second-ever GRC Lites race.