Countdown to WRX of Spain (CEST)

days
0
-102
-7
hours
-1
-7
minutes
-1
-5
seconds
-4
-6
08 Nov 2013

GRC: Block bags first win

Category: GRC, News Posted 08.11.13 18:45 by

“I am absolutely stoked,” was the initial reaction of ‘Hoonigan in Chief’ Ken Block after winning his first ever Global RallyCross Championship overall victory in the SEMA Show final round at Las Vegas in Nevada.

 

The 2013 Global RallyCross Championship series saw its 9th and final round on November 6 and 7 in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the SEMA Show, according to its website “the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world”. The temporary circuit was set up at a parking lot close to the ‘Las Vegas Convention Center’, the venue of SEMA, and was by far the best prepared race track of the GRC season.

Heat 1 with its four SuperCar races (1A, 1B, 1C and 1D) was held on Wednesday, the four runs of Heat 2 (2A, 2B, 2C and 2D) followed on Thursday. The victories in those qualifying heats were claimed by the same drivers, Tanner Foust (1A and 2A), Toomas Heikkinen (1B and 2B), Ken Block (1C and 2C) and Scott Speed (1D and 2D) therefore earning two bonus points for their championship tally each.

Beside these four straight front row qualifiers for the all decisive final the second starting row was claimed by Steve Arpin, Patrick Sandell, Travis Pastrana and Bryce Menzies, while Rhys Millen and Sverre Isachsen used the detour of the ‘Last Chance Qualifier’ to complete the grid for the last race of the season. Foust jumped the start to throw his leading Ford Fiesta into the first corner, subsequently being penalised with a stop-and-go order. Another stop-and-go penalty was made for Heikkinen, the Finn getting his punishment for an incident with Pastrana. Full advantage for Block who was in the lead early and ruled the race till the chequered flag was dropped for the last time. Despite his stop-and-go Foust was able to finish as runner-up, while the battle for third place ended in favour of Pastrana who passed champion Heikkinen over the finish line.

“It’s been a bit of a tough year – I’ve had the speed, but just haven’t had the luck in the first turn,” said Block, who won no less than 11 out of 13 heats during the season. “Today I got a decent start, had some good luck in the first turn, and an unfortunately Tanner [Foust] jumped the start, which gave us free reign for the win. It was fun battling with Travis [Pastrana] earlier, fun battling with Tanner, but my team works incredibly hard, and it’s great to finally give me and my team a win.”

“Today was almost a perfect day,” said Foust, who earned second place in Las Vegas as well as in the championship. “I was first in seeding, won both my heats, had quick lap times, saved the tyres, the car was working great, the team was working great, and then I jumped the start of the final race from the pole position. I thought I timed it just about right, but video review says I did in fact jump the start, and so I got a stop-and-go penalty for that,” Foust added. “That took me out of smooth sailing to being right in the middle of a war. Travis [Pastrana] was coming off the curbs a couple times, which let me pass him for second, and then I was started to gain on Ken [Block]. I don’t know if he was backing off, because he had such a big lead, but I hit some oil from Patrick [Sandell] and almost drove off the track, so that was the end of me chasing Ken.”

“The race was alright,” said Heikkinen, who claimed the 2013 GRC title already in Round 8 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I was fourth in seeding, the track was working for me, and even in the heats the speed was there. In the final I was on the outside of the grid, which made it difficult for me to enter the first corner. I was side by side with Travis Pastrana and our battle put him into the wall and gave me a black flag. I did a stop-and-go, ended up back against Pastrana and he overtook me at the finish. The season overall was really great for us,” Heikkinen added. “We won five races in a row, had a total of eight podiums, and everything just seemed to be in place. I am very grateful to have sponsors that supported me throughout the year and glad to have gotten them the championship title. I hope to be back next year to do it all over again.”

Like his compatriot Heikkinen Finnish youngster Joni Wiman ensured himself the GRC Lites title already at Charlotte. However, the protégé of double World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm finished the inaugural Lites season in style by winning also the sixth event of the six round series. Swedish guest driver Eric Färén became the event runner-up to Wiman, while championship runner-up Sebastian Eriksson, also from Sweden, completed the Las Vegas podium in third place.

 

  • FINAL RESULTS SUPERCARS:
  • 1. Ken Block (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 2. Tanner Foust (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 3. Travis Pastrana (USA) Dodge Dart
  • 4. Toomas Heikkinen (FIN) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 5. Sverre Isachsen (N) Subaru Impreza GR
  • 6. Bryce Menzies (USA) Dodge Dart
  • 7. Patrik Sandell (S) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST (DNF)
  • 8. Steve Arpin (CDN) Ford Fiesta Mk7 (DNF)
  • 9. Scott Speed (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 (DNF)
  • 10. Rhys Millen (NZ) Hyundai Veloster (DNF)
  • Not qualified for the Final:
  • 11. Patrick Moro (USA) Chevrolet Sonic/Aveo RS
  • 12. Stéphane Verdier (F) Hyundai Veloster
  • 13. Brian Deegan (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST
  • 14. “Bucky” Lasek (USA) Subaru Impreza GR
  • 15. Nelson Piquet Jr. (BR) Mitsubishi Lancer E10
  • Final point standings after 9 rounds:
  • 1. Toomas Heikkinen (FIN) 169 points
  • 2. Tanner Foust (USA) 123 points
  • 3. Ken Block (USA) 114 points
  • 4. Brian Deegan (USA) 106 points
  • 5. Scott Speed (USA) 94 points
  • 6. Patrick Sandell (S) 89 points
  • FINAL RESULTS GRC LITES:
  • 1. Joni Wiman (FIN) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 2. Eric Färén (S) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 3. Sebastian Eriksson (S) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 4. Austin Dyne (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 5. Mitchell DeJong (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 6. Kevin Eriksson (S) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 7. Alexander Westlund (S) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 8. Geoffrey Sykes (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • Not qualified for the Final:
  • 9. Brent Lee (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 10. Tyler Benson (USA) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • Final point standings after 6 rounds:
  • 1. Joni Wiman (FIN) 128 points
  • 2. Sebastian Eriksson (S) 93 points
  • 3. Mitchell DeJong (USA) 81 points
  • 4. Kevin Eriksson (S) 75 points
  • 5. Alexander Westlund (S) 74 points
  • 6. Austin Dyne (USA) 66 points
  • 6. Geoffrey Sykes (USA) 66 points

 

 

More pictures from Las Vegas to be found here in our Gallery.

 

 

Toomas Heikkinen – From the crash in 2012 to the title in 2013