BRISTOL, Tenn., July 20, 2013 – That sweeping sound you heard today came from Ford Fiesta STs.
Toomas Heikkinen scored his third consecutive victory during the fifth round of Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) at Bristol Motor Speedway today, and helped Ford Fiesta capture its second its second consecutive podium sweep and third this season.
Heikkinen, 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 five rounds this season.
“This is really good to keep the championship points lead and win my third race here at Bristol,” said Heikkinen. “My Ford Fiesta ST is on fire right now and it was a great race for us. I am really enjoying racing in the U.S. and am just happy to have made it to the podium again.”
In the Global Rallycross seeding session, Heikkinen was seventh overall, which set him in the third position of the first heat. With a pass on the final lap of the heat, Heikkinen finished second behind Ken Block and ultimately advanced into the main event.
“I didn’t have the best start to my day and did not qualify well, but I got a good start in the main which is what matters,” said Heikkinen. “I choose the right line on the inside which put me in a good position and I was able to avoid getting bumped around too much.
“I took the joker lap in the middle of the race because I heard Ken Block may be catching me by the last few laps. Then I heard he was two seconds or so behind me so I just tried to stay focused on keeping the right line to stay ahead and then finished first.”
With a win at Bristol, Heikkinen has finished first in both U.S. races.
“This is my second win in the U.S. and my third win with global X Games,” said Heikkinen. “The win means so much to me right now and I am so happy and grateful to be here.”
For Deegan, a third place finish at Bristol earned him his second Global Rallycross podium appearance of the season.
“I was in survival mode in the main event,” said Deeegan. “Coming out of the LCQ (last chance qualifier) we didn’t have much time to work on the car and with the fast turnaround into the main I was happy to finish third. There is a lot of luck that goes into winning a race this season, coming out of the first corner unharmed is really what it comes down to.”
The Rockstar Energy OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST driver seeded fourth overall but failed to make the top two in his heat putting him into the LCQ. Deegan finished first in the LCQ followed by Rockstar Energy OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST teammate Tanner Foust and both advanced into the main event.
“Coming down into the heat qualifier, I don’t know what happen with Tanner and Ken but they just ran right through me and I got into carnage, had a poor finish and forced us into the LCQ,” said Deegan. “Luckily I survived the LCQ and went on to the final.
“I started dead last in the final but I was inside,” said Deegan. “Sometimes I think the inside third row is better than the front row outside. I figured I’d stay low, out of everyone plowing into each other and that I’d be in the top five within the first few laps. I saw Topi cut high and somehow miss, I think it was Isachsen who plowed through the field and being on the inside I only made a little contact and squeezed through with a podium end result.
“I know I have the speed so I am looking forward to the big race at X Games (Los Angeles) to see what I can do there,” said Deegan. There is a whole rest of the season and I think I am steadily getting better. We’ve adjusted stuff in the car and I am starting to get back to where I was a year ago with better starts. That’s what it takes in this sport. I feel confident and feel we made a headway going into LA with my starts so I think that I will be one of the top three dudes to battle for the gold. Every time I go on the track I am in the top three or five with my times and that’s not bad for a dirt biker.”
The start of the GRC main at Bristol Motor Speedway included a fast turn around the 30 degree bank followed by a straight dive into the infield. Block was the fastest off the start of the main and had the lead on the first corner until multiple drivers made contact. Tanner Foust had heavy damage to the front end of the Rockstar Energy OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST forcing him to retire out of the main right away. Heikkinen was able to avoid much contact and took the lead out of the first corner, followed by Steve Arpin and Block. Arpin had trouble with his car, pulling off the track for Block and Deegan to follow Heikkinen for the rest of the race.
Ford had six cars in the Global Rallycross final at Bristol Motor Speedway and won two of three heats for Fiesta ST (Block, Sandell).
Ford Racing PR.