AUSTIN, Tex. (June 8, 2014) — The heat was on this weekend in Austin, where the second round of Red Bull Global Rallycross joined X Games for two days of non-stop action on a tight, half-mile dirt and tarmac course built into the Circuit of the Americas.
Olsbergs MSE drivers Patrik Sandell and Joni Wiman showed great speed, with both drivers qualifying at the top of an intensely competitive 19-car field.
Sandell looked poised for a podium in the Kobalt Tools Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST throughout two days of rough and sometimes chaotic racing that saw numerous red-flag restarts and black-flag penalties throughout the field.
While his rivals struggled to fight their way through a tight course that afforded few opportunities to pass, Sandell put in a smart drive and avoided trouble to finish at the front of every qualifying match and earn a position on the front row of the Final.
“It could have been a perfect weekend: I finished first or second in every heat and had a great starting position for the Final, but it wasn’t our race,” said Sandell, who drove his Kobalt Tools Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST to a sixth-place result. “I feel confident that with the speed the team has shown; we’ll be racing for the top spots at our next round in D.C.”
In the Final, Sandell was moving through the pack when he and a rival driver made contact. Officials ruled him at fault and issued a penalty that knocked Sandell out of podium contention.
For rookie Joni Wiman, top speeds on the course didn’t translate to a medal result this weekend.
Although he put the Red Bull/Bluebeam Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST on the top of the leaderboard in qualifying, with the fastest overall lap time, the young driver found himself fighting to find his way through traffic once door-to-door racing began. He was unable to land a spot in the six-car Final.
“I should have been more patient this weekend and not always charged for the first corner — that’s what cost me a podium here,” said Wiman, who this weekend contested only his second Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercars race. “I just wanted it too much.”
Last season, Wiman swept the GRC Lites category and graduated to the top class in 2014 for his first year of Supercars competition. He has shown promise early this season and is a driver to watch in the Red Bull Global Rallycross title hunt.
Olsbergs MSE guest driver Ricky Johnson, whose lifetime of racing accomplishments have earned him spots in both the Motorcycle and Motorsports halls of fame, said he found the winner-take-all nature of the first corner challenging. Even so, he looks forward to his next chance to return to the team for a rallycross drive.
“I’m extremely excited with the performance of the racecar, the professionalism of the Olsbergs MSE team, and how much fun the Ford Fiesta was to drive,” said Johnson, who drove the Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST in his X Games debut. “I don’t know if they’ll give me another shot in rallycross but if they give me half a chance, I’m in there: anytime, anywhere.”
In addition to the Supercars competition, a full roster of GRC Lites joined the series this weekend for the first race of the season. Red Bull/Olsbergs MSE GRC Lites driver Mitchell DeJong earned X Games gold, while teammate Kevin Eriksson scored the silver medal in his Olsbergs MSE GRC Lites car. The GRC Lites are purpose-built 310 horsepower rallycross racers designed and built by Olsbergs MSE and introduced to GRC in 2013 as a development series for the sport of rallycross.
The team will next appear in competition with World RX drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss at World RX of Norway in Hell, Norway, June 14 and 15. Olsbergs MSE’s Red Bull Global Rallycross drivers are back in action for the Washington, D.C., championship stop June 21 and 22.
ABOUT RED BULL GLOBAL RALLYCROSS:
Red Bull Global Rallycross pits small production-based cars against each other in door-to-door racing featuring dirt, asphalt, and table-top jumps. With enhanced engineering and safety features, the cars produce 600 horsepower and can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in less than two seconds, and can also withstand 70-foot jumps and other vehicle contact.
ABOUT OLSBERGS MSE:
Olsbergs MSE designs, builds and operates winning competition cars for motorsport. It is recognized as the global authority in the growing sport of rallycross.
OMSE is a Ford Racing technical partner, developing the Ford Fiesta platform for international competition. Together, Ford and OMSE have earned an astonishing 20 X Games medals, including podium sweeps at the world’s leading action sports contest (Los Angeles, 2011; Brazil 2013). The team has also scored every rallycross championship in the United States since the sport debuted in that country in 2010, and its drivers are podium regulars in European competition.
Founded in 2009, the organization represents a partnership between historic Swedish industrial company Olsbergs and rallycross specialists Motor Sport Evolution. In 2013, the company expanded its operations into the United States and now has dual headquarters with operations in both Nynäshamn, Sweden, and Huntington Beach, Calif.
In 2014, OMSE campaigns leading cars in World RX, the Global Rallycross Championship, and the Rallycross Supercar Scandinavia championship.
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