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13 Jan 2014

Andros: Topi on French ice

Category: Miscellaneous, News Posted 13.01.14 16:23 by

Reigning Global RallyCross Champion Toomas Heikkinen has left his marks at the ice-track of Isola2000 in France, where the Finn claimed an impressive fourth place in Round 4 of  the 2014 Andros Trophy series.

 

It was Topi’s first ever ‘Trophée Andros’ event, the famous French ice-racing series thought up and established in 1990 by 1982 and 1983 French Rallycross Champion Max Mamers. Heikkinen had been invited by the French team ‘Saintéloc Racing’ to drive their 340+bhp strong Ford Fiesta Mk7 V6 3.0 spaceframe chassis Andros Trophy Special. And the 22 years old Finn did very well for an Andros Trophy newcomer, eventually just missing out a place on the winners podium. Topi improved consistently throughout the weekend and ended up fourth overall by the end, having tested his Fiesta for just about 50 kilometres prior to the start of the event.

“For me the most important thing was that I was improving all the time. In the final I was actually second, but of course you add everything up to get the final result, so I ended up fourth,” said Topi later. “With more time in the car I’m sure we could have done better. The driving style for this championship is unique, so it takes a bit of getting used to. With every lap I was taking as much as half a second off my time; sometimes even more.”

Although Topi’s rivals all said that he put in an astonishing drive for somebody new to the category, the Finn’s first reaction was actually to feel slightly disappointed with himself. Typical for a man who is driven only by winning; this year he claimed five successive victories on the Global RallyCross series en route to the title. “I have to admit that when I heard the end result after the last final at Isola2000 I thought to myself at first: ‘fourth… that’s not so great’,” added Topi. “But then I had a bit of time to think about it and I talked to some other people as well and I realised it was not so bad. Particularly because this was at Isola2000, which is well known for being a really tight and technical track even by the most experienced Andros Trophy drivers.”

For Heikkinen, the driving style required for the Andros Trophy was the most complex aspect to get used to. “You basically have to be completely sideways all of the time and that was actually quite disorientating. Sometimes you didn’t know exactly which direction you should be pointing in,” he concluded. “The key thing is to have the car perfectly set up before each corner, so this is a championship where experience definitely helps a lot. But I had a really great time and hopefully I will be able to have another go.”

 

Photo: Toomas Heikkinen did well in the spaceframe chassis Ford Fiesta Mk7 V6 3.0 ice-racing machinery. © Topicross/ERC24