Tag Archives: X Games

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GRC Personalities // Stephan Verdier: A Privateer at X Games

A lot of people asked me, “Why are you doing the X Games? You’re a privateer going against big factory teams. You have no chance.”

Well I did it because it was right here, 30 minutes away from my house, and I’m fortunate to have a rallycross car doing nothing in my driveway. I knew that my chances of winning were slim, but you never know what can happen and it’s FUN to race.

So I decided about 3 weeks before the event to race in the Gymkhana Grid and Global Rallycross events at X Games. I got an invite because of my sixth place finish in last year’s GRC championship and Ken Block invited all the GRC guys at the X Games to do Gymkhana Grid. My car had mostly been sitting in my driveway since X Games 2011, but I took it out for a local SCCA rallycross in Glen Helen a few months back, so I knew the car worked.

Still, I had to go through the car and do a few upgrades. As with most privateers, all the work was done in my driveway on my own. Some of the changes were to upgrade the front OEM differential with one from CUSCO, and to change my OEM gear box to a 6 speed sequential from KAPS. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to use the Kaps gear box because it got stuck in customs for 3 weeks and never showed up on time for the events.

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I actually drove my car with the OEM 6 speed H-pattern. Not ideal when everybody else has a sequential.

Because I was doing two events, the first one being Gymkhana Grid, I had to change the brakes to light ones from Wilwood and different spring rates on the Tein suspension. So about 10 days before the events I started working on the car and organizing everything for the race, from Fuel from Ignite racing to the Cooper tires, a new wrap on the car from Visual Imaging designed by AJ Grasso, passes from everybody, et cetera.

The bottom line: I got to the events with sore, bruised, cut hands and in need of sleep. I kept telling myself “I’m too old for that s***!” “Why am I doing this?” “Oh yeah, it’s gonna be fun…”

Fortunately I was able to find help at the event from friends and family. Todd Moberly was my spotter, and Cody Parkhouse was my mechanic with Frank Turcios and Brent Smith from Prolific.

My first event was Gymkhana Grid. My goal was to compete and keep the car in one piece for the GRC. Wishful thinking.

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During qualifying I was paired with Patrik Sandell, and exiting the course Patrik got confused and made a wrong turn which resulted in a collision with my car. My car was heavily damaged—the front bumper structure was destroyed, frame was bent, intercooler fan was broken, and so on. We were able to fix it to finish the Gymkhana Grid event, but as soon as we were finished we needed to convert the car to rallycross set up for the next day’s GRC event.

We started around 8 pm on Saturday night. The first step was to remove the front bumper structure to rebuild it. Next, we had to change the front brakes to bigger brakes, redo spring rates and ride height, install skid plates, and go through the whole car for a bolt check. We finished around midnight. Frank and Brent went to the Prolific shop and spent the whole night rebuilding the front bumper structure.

We met at the track around 8 AM to reinstall the front end of the car. Everybody was burned out and the event hadn’t started yet. Not good.

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We had a five lap practice as the only practice before qualifying. During the practice, the car was understeering a lot through turn one and was lacking traction in the dirt. I decided to remove the rear wing, go softer on the spring rate in the front, and soften up the rear as well.

Since we only had one practice, all the changes I made would be for qualifying. When I went out for qualifying, the car was oversteering, but it was still better. That was good because it proved to me that my fake WRC wing actually work at high speed. Unfortunately, after my second lap I broke a rear half shaft and I had to stop my session.

I had a pretty bad time. Not having a sequential hurt me a lot, and I needed more time to set up the car.

Because of my bad qualifying I had to fight from the back for my first heat. I got an okay start, but got hit by Scott Speed in the gravel, which broke my front half shaft. Game over.

We fixed the car, but didn’t have time to make any changes to the handling. The car was still understeering in turn 1 and lacking grip in the dirt.

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Going into the LCQ I had to start from the back again. I had a good start and was able to pass four cars in the first lap, but the race got red flagged. I had an okay start on the redo, but couldn’t pass any cars in the first lap. The track go really dusty—in the section of dirt coming back on the tarmac, I had to actually stop twice to see where I was going putting way back in the field. I finished fourth in that heat and that was the end of my 2013 X Games.

Overall it was a long and hard weekend, but it was a lot of fun. I met a lot of great people. The car is still in one piece and back in my driveway.

Thank you to my family and friends for all the help!!!

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish (1, 4, 5); Stephan Verdier (2); Jennifer Ziegler (3)

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

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

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

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

X Games Los Angeles Boasts Storied Rallycross History

This year’s X Games represents the eighth year of rally car competition at the famed action sports event, with Los Angeles playing host to the event each year. In that time, some of the greatest drivers in motorsport have chased the glory of a gold medal—but only a few have succeeded.

It was 2006 when rally events were first introduced to X Games Los Angeles, with the very first event taking place at the Home Depot Center. The event, a super special rally stage, featured drivers facing each other head-to-head in a mad dash to the finish. Travis Pastrana, already well-established in X Games competition as a freestyle motocross star, switched to cars and defeated former World Rally champion Colin McRae, after McRae rolled his car just short of the finish.

The early years of X Games rallying were dominated by Tanner Foust, who won gold in 2007, and Pastrana, who reclaimed the title in 2008. But the ever-expanding event drew interest from more and more faces from around the world of motorsports. Eventually, in 2009, X Games saw its first driver from another form of racing come in and take gold: Kenny Brack, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 champion, in his first race after retiring from IndyCar.

2010 saw a change of venue, with rally car racing heading to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the introduction of rallycross as a second event. Foust would defeat Brian Deegan in both races, with drifting star and stunt driver winning the bronze medal in rallycross.

In 2011, X Games Los Angeles became the season finale for the Global Rallycross season, a two-day event on the streets of Los Angeles that featured head-to-head competition one day and an eight-car rallycross final on the second. Liam Doran, competing in his first X Games, won the head-to-head finale over World Rally legend Marcus Gronholm, while Deegan would avenge his loss from the previous season and win gold in the rallycross finale. The next year, fellow World Rally legend Sebastien Loeb would dominate in his X Games debut, beating Ken Block and Deegan.

2013 will see Global Rallycross and X Games Los Angeles compete at Irwindale Speedway, the same venue that hosted the first-ever GRC race in 2011. Whoever wins the gold medal on Sunday will have the distinction of taking the last one from X Games Los Angeles—and closing out one of the most significant chapters in the sport’s history.

Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com

X Games Los Angeles Attracts Largest Field of Global Rallycross Season

Global Rallycross will see no fewer than 18 Supercars—a season high—at X Games Los Angeles, the final X Games event of the 2013 schedule. Besides 13 GRC regulars, three drivers will make their season debuts, including two who competed in the 2012 season.

Rhys Millen, who fielded two Hyundai Velosters for himself and Stephan Verdier last year, will return to GRC competition for the first time since scoring a third place finish in last year’s season finale. Millen finished in a tie for third place in last year’s championship, despite skipping the New Hampshire round.

Millen’s team will campaign the same two vehicles, with Rally America veteran David Sterckx making his GRC debut in the other car. Sterckx comes to X Games with momentum, having won the Super Production class and finishing fourth overall in this weekend’s New England Forest Rally.

Verdier will be back as well, reviving the Subaru WRX STI that he campaigned to three podiums and fifth place in the 2011 championship. He will be the only true privateer in the field, racing on his own dime with limited sponsorship.

Meanwhile, two more familiar faces will return to the series in the two Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polos. Anton Marklund, who still ranks 10th in points despite missing the past two events, returns to the team’s #92 car, while Timur Timerzyanov, who has substituted for Travis Pastrana in three races this season, will join the team in the #29. In six combined starts this year, the two Marklund cars have made it to five main events, scoring three top-five finishes (all in Munich).

Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com

Race Recap: Heikkinen Wins First Career X Games Gold in Munich

IN BRIEF: After a silver medal in Brazil and a bronze yesterday, Toomas Heikkinen finally won a gold medal at the Global Rallycross event in X Games Munich on Sunday. Liam Doran and Tanner Foust won the silver and bronze medals.

HEAT RECAPS: Heikkinen, Mattias Ekstrom, Doran, and Brian Deegan won the four heats, while Steve Arpin, Sverre Isachsen, Ken Block, and Tanner Foust also advanced directly to the final. After three re-starts in the last chance qualifier, Townsend Bell and Guiga Spinelli also advanced to the main event.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: A wild first turn saw Isachsen’s Subaru get bounced on two wheels, while Heikkinen and Doran managed to clear the majority of the carnage. Deegan pulled off shortly thereafter.

Heikkinen began to pull away from the field, while a tight battle still commenced in the middle of the pack. Ekstrom and Bell fought aggressively for fifth place, while Block remained on track and charged past multiple cars. Meanwhile, Foust’s rear bumper began to drag in the middle of the race before eventually falling off.

At race’s end, Heikkinen crossed the line first, nearly five seconds ahead of Doran and almost ten seconds ahead of Foust. Ekstrom, Arpin, Bell, and Spinelli finished behind them on the lead lap, while Isachsen completed nine laps and Deegan completed one.

QUOTES: A collection of quotes from after today’s Global Rallycross event at X Games Munich:

Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: ”It felt good, and even right now it feels good. But we have a long season, and we have go into LA and see what will happen. I’m leading the championship right now, and we have to be happy. But tomorrow we have to concentrate on the future… (The team) make it work, they make the cars, and I just come in and do my best.”

Liam Doran, #33 LD Motorsports MINI Countryman: ”It was a hard race. Rallycross is always a battle, and I had a couple of hits, but it happens, you know? The car was broken from the second turn. Yesterday I won a gold medal with three wheels, and this time I did eight laps with pretty much three wheels again, because one rear wheel was pointing in completely the wrong direction. But I’m proud of myself for keeping it in one piece and staying on the track, and silver’s not bad at the end of the day, is it? Anyone else would be happy, so of course I’m happy. I could have won gold, and it’s frustrating, but you’ve still got to be happy. I got one yesterday, so I shouldn’t be greedy, should I?”

Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “Yesterday was horrible damage, and the team was working hard to get it all put back together. Today, though, the car’s fairly clean. I saw my own bumper on the track somewhere, but that comes off pretty easily. I did go underneath a Subaru on the first corner… I’ll be honest, it’s hard to be too excited because I just got lucky in the first turn. Yesterday I got unlucky, and there’s a very fine line between those two. The difference is not a good result, and a good result. I’ll take the luck when I can get it, and if that means some hardware, then even better.”

Guiga Spinelli, #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo: ”It was a very, very important moment, an amazing moment, my first time here. It’s a fantastic takeaway, sure, and I’m very happy to be in the final in my first weekend. Sure we will work much more to try to come back better, better, and better, and for me, next time will be with more experience. We’ll try to do our best each time that we come.”

FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from today’s X Games Munich doubleheader.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 55
  2. Liam Doran, 43
  3. Tanner Foust, 37

  Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com

Drivers Adapt To Changing Conditions Over Munich Weekend

Global Rallycross may be using the same track layout in both races of the X Games Munich doubleheader, but that doesn’t mean that drivers don’t have to adapt as they go. To wit: Saturday’s event featured a wet racetrack, forcing many drivers to become acclimated very quickly with new tires, a changing track, and a different set of challenges than in a dry race.

“I just had to drive a lot more careful,” said Ken Block, who took the silver medal in Saturday’s race. “It’s just really, really slick. These are tires and situations we haven’t tested for. We only had a short bit of practice and qualifying today, and it was straight into racing.

“It’s something, though, that as rally and rallycross drivers, we have to adapt to very quickly. So the guys, I think, that have more experience with some of those conditions excel.”

Liam Doran won the race in a MINI Countryman, the first time that he was able to compete in GRC in his new car. “The car is good, the track design suits the MINI, and the track conditions definitely suit the MINI, where we’re running less weight and less power,” he explained.

But Sunday’s event, by all indications, will be a dry event, meaning drivers will have to handle the track in a different manner. Anton Marklund finished fourth on Saturday, but he feels that he is even better prepared for a dry track on Sunday.

“We did a lot of changes to the car to get it working,” Marklund said after Saturday’s race, “but we didn’t get the perfect setup anyway. So we have something to think about until tomorrow. But also, I think this setup will be perfect if we have a dry track.

“We have to pick up in the starts, but I think otherwise we have the right driving style and everything. I will have another driving style if we have dry tarmac tomorrow. It will be more like racing lines, not as wide and dramatic.”

Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com

Race Preview: X Games Munich (Sunday)

IN BRIEF: After a wildly entertaining Saturday event, Global Rallycross stages its third and final international race of the 2013 season as part of X Games Munich on Sunday.

TUNE IN INFORMATION: (all times Eastern) Sunday 11:00 AM on ESPN3 & ESPN

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.

LAST RACE: Liam Doran became the first driver to win two X Games gold medals as a part of Global Rallycross, dominating the first leg of the Munich doubleheader despite running with only three good tires for much of the final. Ken Block made a valiant effort to finish second, while Toomas Heikkinen became the only driver to win medals in both race events so far this season and took the points lead.

DRIVER CHANGES: Sunday’s field will remain the same as Saturday’s, featuring three drivers who made their Global Rallycross season debuts in Munich. Of those three, two drivers, Mattias Ekstrom (fifth place) and Timur Timerzyanov (10th) made it to the final, while Townsend Bell finished in 12th overall. Ekstrom advanced by finishing second to Block in his heat, while Timerzyanov beat X Games Brazil gold medalist Scott Speed in the last chance qualifier.

THE TRACK: The Munich layout is 807.3 meters long and features a nearly 60:40 ratio of gravel to tarmac. The eight turn course is constructed behind the Fröttmaning bus station near the Allianz Arena, earning it the nickname “FröttmaRing.” The combination of hairpin turns and long straightaways promises tough racing, high speeds and lots of passing.

MINI CAR, BIG WIN: Liam Doran’s victory on Saturday represented the first win for his Prodrive-built MINI Countryman in its first-ever rallycross start. The car, adapted from Prodrive’s World Rally-spec vehicle, features a smaller engine than the rest of the field, enabling it to run with slightly less weight. The combination enabled Doran to post the fastest qualifying time, win his heat race, and lead for the majority of the final.

“Lap times were key here,” Doran said after the event. “I qualified first, went one for one in my heat and one for one in the final, and got in the lead both runs as well. I couldn’t be happier.”

PEDAL FOR THE MEDAL: By scoring his fifth X Games rally medal, Ken Block broke a tie with Travis Pastrana for second place on the all-time list. Only Tanner Foust, with six, has more medals in X Games rally events than Block.

Block now has three silver medals (2007 Los Angeles, 2012 Los Angeles, 2013 Munich) and two bronze (2006 Los Angeles, 2008 Los Angeles). Of Foust’s six medals, three are gold, but he has not added to the tally since taking silver in the second Los Angeles race in 2011.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM RACE 1 AT X GAMES MUNICH:
Global Rallycross at X Games Munich: Saturday Recap

Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com