Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen landed his fourth consecutive series victory to win gold while Tanner Foust claimed silver at X Games Los Angeles on Sunday as Ford Racing clinched the Global Rallycross manufacturers’ championship.
Heikkinen, who drives the Bluebeam OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST, became the first driver in X Games history to win two RallyCross gold medals while also increasing his lead in the championship point standings.
“The race was unbelievable for me. It feels so good,” said Heikkinen, who was seeded sixth overall but showed he would be one of the main event favorites after bolting from third to first in the initial heat race. “The first corner was so stuffed. I went in there side-by-side, door-to-door with Ken Block. I went a little too wide after the first corner, so when Liam (Doran) and Ken started to crash together, I just watched and went in between them.”
Foust, driver of the Rockstar Energy OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST, took home the gold medal on Saturday night in the inaugural Gymkhana Grid competition and followed it up with another strong effort in the RallyCross race.
“It was a pretty productive weekend, that’s for sure,” said Foust on his back-to-back podium performances. “It’s nice to take home some hardware. Last night was really fun and it’s nice. I just want to have fun with driving. There’s no pressure of a championship when it’s a standalone event, and it was a really good challenge to set the car up with those slippery tires.”
Foust had a difficult heat race as he battled for the second automatic transfer position with Timur Timerzyanov, but ultimately claimed that spot.
“It was definitely a battle in a hindsight scenario. It was just a war during the heat,” said Foust, who now has 11 X Games medals in his stellar career. “My vantage point in the final was I have 10 cars in front of me and I’m like, ‘Okay, we’ll just see what happens.’ Then all of a sudden Ken is backwards, tires are flying through the air, there’s fire, there’s everything, so I just powered around the outside corner and ended up second. I just followed Topi’s dust from that point to the finish”
The track at Irwindale Speedway was slightly different from other GRC courses in that it did not include a jump in the joker lap, which is a shortcut all drivers can use once per race.
“The only bummer about this track is that there wasn’t a big jump. You still get a little air, but it was still the best track we’ve had so far,” said Foust. “I’ve been lucky to have been a part of every X Games that’s had a car and every track has been different. From Home Depot Center to The Coliseum to the streets of L.A. to Irwindale. This was the best. I think the crowd loved it. We’re going out of L.A. with a bang, Austin here we come!”
X Games not only ended its tour for 2013, but also held its last event in Los Angeles after a decade-long affair with the ever-changing city. Organizers recently announced that Austin, Texas will fill the spot previously held by Los Angeles on the 2014 schedule.
The performances by Heikkenen and Foust continued Ford’s GRC dominance through the first six events. Blue Oval drivers have claimed 15 out of a possible 18 podium finishes, including five victories.
The Global Rallycross Championship will run Round 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 10, 2013.