CHARLOTTE, NC, September 22, 2013 – After five consecutive wins, a third place today by Toomas Heikkinen was enough to claim the 2013 Global Rallycross Championship at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Heikkinen, driver of the Bluebeam OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST, only needed two points to clinch the title and he continues to be the only driver to make a podium appearance at all eight rounds.
“This is such a great moment for us,” said Heikkinen, who was the first to driver to win back-to-back X Games gold medals this year. “It is a very good feeling to have done so well and 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 GRC Championship was really a dream for me so it’s quite good to have won it one race before the last race of the season,” said Heikkinen, who made history by clinching the championship before the final race. “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. I am also grateful to Sylvania for a nice big check.”
For Scott Speed, the victory today was his second of the season. The OMSE 2 Ford Fiesta driver won his second heat to automatically advance to the final.
“We are pretty fast on the tarmac and on the dirt, not so much on the gravel,” said Speed, who won the first race of the season at X Games in Brazil. “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 today,” said 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.”
The podium sweep was rounded out by Brian Deegan, driver of the Rockstar Energy OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST, who claimed his second runner-up 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, the 2012 GRC runner-up. “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 seeded seventh. “It’s always good in this series because it can be a fifty-fifty, so I am happy with second.”
The sweep at Charlotte’s Dirt Track was the fourth for Ford and the OlsbergsMSE this season. A Ford won five of a possible six heats and the two fastest cars after the seeding session. Ford had five cars in the nine-car final and has now claimed 20 out of a possible 24 podium finishes through eight races, including seven victories.
Unlike 2012, this year’s Charlotte race took place on the Dirt Track facility and was primarily compromised of dirt. The track included multiple obstacles including an exit out of the oval and onto to the tarmac which then lead the cars to a long jump that lead back into the dirt.