GRC Supercars Season Review: Toomas Heikkinen
There’s not much to say about Toomas Heikkinen’s sophomore effort in Global Rallycross, outside of a single exclamation: “wow.”
“Wow,” as in “wow, nobody expected Heikkinen to be a top-five driver after his inconsistency and major accident last season.”
“Wow,” as in “wow, nobody thought he would come right out of the gate and nearly win X Games Brazil.”
“Wow,” as in “wow, nobody saw his streak of five straight victories coming.”
“Wow,” as in “wow, nobody would have believed you if you predicted him to not only win the 2013 championship, but also clinch it before the final race of the year.”
As for Heikkinen himself? He wasn’t saying much. He didn’t need to—his driving spoke for itself.
“It’s been a great year,” the Finnish phenomenon conceded after wrapping up both the Supercars title and $20,000 Sylvania SilverStar zXe Cup in Charlotte. “Now we get the championship with the one point that we needed. But I’m still looking forward and want to win the last one. Of course I want to be on the podium still—that’s what I’m looking for, and that is our goal.”
Unfortunately for Heikkinen, he couldn’t complete a clean sweep of nine podiums in nine races, earning a penalty in Las Vegas to finish fourth. That was the only blip on the radar in an otherwise flawless year.
It was also a bit ironic given Heikkinen’s incredible luck throughout the 2013 season. He avoided the first-lap melee in Brazil to earn his first X Games medal, dodged Tanner Foust’s last-lap wreck in New Hampshire to steal his second straight victory, ducked major pile-ups in Bristol and X Games Los Angeles, and even overcame a highly uncooperative car and a last chance qualifier spot in Charlotte to earn his eighth straight podium.
In short, it was the kind of year that a driver may have only once, maybe twice in their career. Not often do a consistently fast car, as Heikkinen had for the majority of the season, and good luck mesh so frequently.
Now, Heikkinen walks into the offseason as the defending Global Rallycross champion. It’ll be interesting to see what he does in 2014 to defend his hard-earned crown, or if his good luck will continue to match the caliber of his driving. But rest assured, the budding superstar will have a huge target on his back at the start of next year.
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish (1, 2); Tom Donoghue (3)