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23 Sep 2013

GRC: Finns claim gold

Category: GRC, News Posted 23.09.13 20:28 by

The two Finns Toomas Heikkinen and Joni Wiman claimed both Global RallyCross Championship titles already at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, while American Scott Speed made the penultimate 2013 GRC round his.


Unlike 2012, this year’s Charlotte GRC event took place at ‘The Dirt Track’ facility, a race track primarily compromised of dirt. After five wins in a row his third place in North Carolina was enough for Finn Toomas Heikkinen (Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST) to claim the 2013 Global RallyCross Championship early. “Topi” only needed another two points to clinch the title, and he remains to be the only driver to make it to all eight podiums of the series.

“This is such a great moment for us,” said Heikkinen, who was the first driver to win back-to-back X Games gold medals this year. “It is a very good feeling to have done so well and to be on the podium once again. The race here was definitely the toughest, so I was happy to be able to finish third. Winning the Global RallyCross Championship was really a dream for me, so it’s quite good to have won it one race before the last event of the season,” said Heikkinen, who made history by bagging the championship already before its SEMA Finale on November 7 in Las Vegas. “There have been so many of my team and sponsors that have pushed me to get here, and I am just so grateful for them. And I am also grateful to Sylvania for that nice big check [$20,000],” stated the Finn with a big grin.

For former Formula 1 driver American Scott Speed, who eventually grabbed the overall victory at Charlotte, it was the second win of the season, having claimed the gold medal of the Brazilian X Games in April. The OMSE2 Ford Fiesta Mk7 SuperCar driver won his second heat [2B] to automatically advance to the final. “We are pretty fast on the tarmac and on the dirt, but not so much on the gravel,” said Speed afterwards. “This was pretty much all dirt, so it fit our car really well and I felt fast all day. I survived, which seems to be key. When we were in Bristol it was all tarmac and I was real fast there as well, but didn’t survive, like Tanner [Foust] today,” told Speed. “I’m happy to be back on the podium and feeling good about being one of the fastest since I haven’t had the same luck since the first race [Brazil].”

Second to Scott Speed and on the podium was Brian Deegan, who made good use of his OMSE Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST to snatch his second runner-up result of the season. “Well I survived the first corner, on the restart that is because I was in the pile up on our first start,” said Deegan, second to Tanner Foust after the 2012 GRC. “On the restart I got through clean, Scott got out ahead of me and that’s about all she wrote. I tried to catch up the entire nine laps, but we were running the same speeds. There were certain time I was catching him and other places he was flat out beating me. I finished as best as I could with a damaged car, and a second was good,” said Deegan, who finished ‘Seeding’ in seventh place. “It’s always good in this series because it can be a fifty-fifty, so I am happy with second.”

The first Final attempt started with Brian Deegan taking the lead. It lasted until his Fiesta had contact with the Fiesta of Scott Speed, who then went into the lead. However, after about half the first lap a pileup was produced by several of the followers and the red flag came out. The starting grid was re-arranged and after the “GO!” it was Speed to take the lead once more, again followed by Deegan. Ken Block, “Topi” Heikkinen, “Bucky” Lasek, Steve Arpin and Patrik Sandell were chasing the duo. Sverre Isachsen crashed his Subaru Impreza GR into a water barrier, subsequently retiring from the race. The right front tyre of Ken Block’s Fiesta called it a day, but the “Hoonigan in Chief” kept on racing with three tyres. Canadian Steve Arpin also got a puncture and continued likewise. While Speed was leading for the rest of the way to the chequered flag and gold, Deegan and Heikkinen ensured themselves silver and bronze of the Charlotte event.


Video of the SuperCars Final.


Among the ‘GRC Lites’ campaigners that Marcus Grönholm protégé Joni Wiman is an outstanding talent who won his fifth consecutive round at Charlotte. With his new victory, here over American Geoffrey Sykes and Swede Sebastian Eriksson, the young Finn extended his championship lead to an unbeatable 29 points, thereby ensuring himself the first ever title of the young blood series as early as his compatriot Heikkinen did in the main category.


  • 1. Scott Speed (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 2. Brian Deegan (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 3. Toomas Heikkinen (FIN) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 4. Stéphane Verdier (F) Hyundai Veloster
  • 5. Steve Arpin (CDN) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 6. “Bucky” Lasek (USA) Subaru Impreza GR
  • 7. Ken Block (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 8. Sverre Isachsen (N) Subaru Impreza GR (DNF)
  • 9. Travis Pastrana (USA) Dodge Dart (DNF)
  • Not qualified for the Final:
  • 10. Tanner Foust (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 11. Pat Moro (USA) Chevrolet Sonic/Aveo RS
  • 12. Dave Mirra (USA) MINI Countryman JCW 1.6
  • 13. Patrik Sandell (S) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 14. Bryce Menzies (USA) Dodge Dart
  • 15. Nelson Piquet Jr. (BR) Mitsubishi Lancer E10
  • 1. Joni Wiman (FIN) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 2. Geoffrey Sykes (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 3. Sebastian Eriksson (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 4. Mitchell DeJong (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 5. Alexander Westlund (S) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 6. Harry Cheung (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 7. Kevin Eriksson (S) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 8. Austin Dyne (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 9. Tyler Benson (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7



More pictures from Charlotte to be found here in our Gallery.