A second consecutive victory by Toomas Heikkinen in the fourth round of Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway paved the path for a Ford Fiesta ST podium sweep.
For Heikkinen, it was his second consecutive win and his fourth podium in GRC this season. The Bluebeam OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST driver continues to lead the championship points and is the only driver to have made the podium at all four rounds this season.
“Yeah, it was a great day for me,” said Heikkinen. “Although it has been a long day with rain in the morning, but the finish was really exciting for me. I was in third a lot of the race but passed for second and then on the final lap my spotter was telling me to push and so I was putting the pressure on Tanner (Foust). He made a mistake and that was the key to my win today.
“It’s great to keep the lead in the championship points and come out with my second win in GRC, but I am taking this all race by race so we’ll see how the next race goes.”
Heikkinen was second fastest in the seeding session, behind Ken Block, and went on to win his heat. After the start of the 10-lap final Heikkinen held third place overall until halfway through the race, he was able to make a pass for second to follow OlsbergsMSE teammate Tanner Foust. On the final lap of the race Heikkinen had gained time and was putting pressure on when Foust made a mistake which allowed the Bluebeam OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST driver to pass for the win.
For Sandell, it was his second podium appearance. The OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST driver finished just under three seconds behind Heikkinen for second in GRC round four.
"It was a good day overall,” said Sandell. “I was in the last group seeding and it was raining so heavily before the session began and then it started to dry up on the first heat, second heat, third heat and then just before my heat the sky just opened up again and it was raining like crazy. The best I could do was to be third from the bottom given the conditions. My heat went well, I was second behind Topi and I was happy about that. In the final I started in the second row and I knew if I could get the perfect start then I could survive the first corner and try to gain a few spaces. I think I was second after Tanner on the corner and then just tried to drive the best I could which ended up being second.”
A third place finish by Brian Deegan secured his first podium appearance of the season. The Rockstar Energy OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST driver seeded fourth overall and finished second behind Foust in his heat.
“Round four here in New Hampshire went really quick,” said Deegan. “There was rain off and on so the track conditions kept changing and it was a challenge to set up the car. I started the main on the second row and didn’t have the best start. I came around on the inside of the first corner and everyone just started crashing into each other. I was right behind Topi and just tried to keep fourth place until I saw Tanner come in hot on the final corner of the race and crash. You can’t stop until the checkered flag so I was able to sneak in there and finish third. Top three is cool but I just have to win one of these races.”
The start of the GRC main at New Hampshire Motor Speedway included the longest straight-away before a sharp corner this season. Foust was first off the line while the rest of the field applied breaks before the first corner, Foust pressed on taking the outside and avoided the cars crashing into each other on the inside. Up until lap 10, the final lap of the race the Rockstar Energy OlsbergsMSe Ford Fiesta ST driver led the competition. On the final corner Foust was pushing to hold off Heikkinen who was gaining on him and with a snap of misjudgment, he came in too fast and hit the side wall. Although he lost the lead, Foust pressed on to finish fourth overall.
“The first corner was great. Ken and I both got a good start so my strategy was to outbreak everybody and go on the outside,” said Foust. “It all started going downhill from there. I made was making a few adjustments to the car because it was running really hot starting on the first lap. I turned the anti-lag off which means the performance is a little bit down but the temperature dropped and everything was great.
“Then on the final lap I came into the chicane too hot and didn’t have the best exit on the last straight away, thought Topi may be gaining on me and Andreas over my radio said inside which was code for someone was coming up and could pass me on the inside. I protected to the inside of the track and when I went to the brakes it was just all the mud, dirt and everything that I didn’t think about from all the rain we had today. I almost accelerated from that point into the wall. It was horrible. Once my eyeballs were pointed forward, I saw the car was still running, put it into first and tried to finish.”
The fastest seeding time and a heat win put Ken Block on the front line of the GRC main. The Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST RX43 driver had a good start to final but was immediately caught up in the aggressive first turn and would come out sixth. Block made the pass for fifth and secured Ford Fiesta ST the top five finishing positions.
Ford had six cars in the Global Rallycross final at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and won all three heats for Fiesta ST (Block, Heikkinen, Foust) and finished round four with the top five finishing positions.
Round four of Global Rallycross at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will air on ESPN at 7:30pm ET on Saturday, July 13, 2013.
GRC ROUND FOUR FORD FINISHING RESULTS
1st Toomas Heikkinen
2nd Patrik Sandell
3rd Brian Deegan
4th Tanner Foust
5th Ken Block
10th Scott Speed
FORD GRC 2013 WINNINGS
New Hampshire Motor Speedway 1st Place (Heikkinen), 2nd Place (Sandell), 3rd Place (Deegan)
X Games Germany 2 Gold (Heikkinen), Bronze (Foust)
X Games Germany 1 Silver (Block), Bronze (Heikkinen)
X Games Brazil Gold (Speed), Silver (Heikkinen), Bronze (Sandell)
The Global Rallycross Championship will next run at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 20, 2013 for the series’ second standalone race.