LAS VEGAS, Nev. (November 4, 2014) – As the Red Bull Global Rally Championship heads into its final event of the 2014 season this week in Las Vegas, the leading Olsbergs MSE Ford rallycross team has its sights set on a fourth-consecutive championship title.
Rookie Joni Wiman, who pilots the Red Bull/Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST, leads the title hunt, 12 points ahead of closest challenger Ken Block. A second-place finish in Wednesday night’s race is all it will take for Wiman to secure the championship title.
The 21-year-old Finnish driver has had a late season surge and heads into the final round Wednesday on a three-race podium streak. He has yet to score a win this season but with four podiums — two seconds and two thirds — so far in nine rounds of competition, he is ready for victory.
This year marks Wiman’s first season of Supercars competition with Olsbergs MSE. A protégé to two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm, Wiman vaulted onto the rallycross scene with a dominant season in the GRC Lites category in 2013 and has moved up to the top class of competition for 2014. He says the championship this season would only be the icing on the cake.
“I’m the rookie this year and I think I’ve shown what I can do,” said Wiman. “Running in GRC Lites last season gave me a good confidence boost and prepared me well for this championship. I’m looking forward to getting out there and racing on Wednesday.”
The course for the 10th race of the year is built into a lot on the Las Vegas Strip at the LINQ Hotel and Casino, under the enormous High Roller ferris wheel — the tallest in the world. The layout is designed to encourage passing and plays to the strengths of the powerful Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST competition cars, as well as Wiman’s smooth and fast style.
Also vying for a win on Wednesday in Las Vegas is Patrik Sandell, driver of the Kobalt Tools Ford Fiesta ST. One of the leading drivers in the series, Sandell became the second driver to score an event victory this season when he won the Washington, D.C., race in June.
“This has been an incredible season in rallycross,” said Sandell. “Bringing the Kobalt Tools Ford Fiesta ST its first victory in Washington, D.C., was a definite highlight and it would be amazing to return to the podium here in Las Vegas. I am ready.”
Although a regular finisher at the front of the field, Sandell is a relative newcomer to the sport. His career has largely taken place on the stages of the World Rally Championship. He has made some 50 WRC starts and covered more than 10,000 miles full speed in a rally career that started when he was barely out of his teens. He began competing in rallycross in 2013 with Olsbergs MSE and this season the Kobalt Tools Ford driver is in a strong position for a top-five result.
The pressure is always intense for the final race on the calendar, which is held in conjunction with the annual SEMA show, the premier automotive aftermarket trade event in the world. Many key figures in the automotive world will be in town and the grandstands will be heavily stacked with major industry players.
The Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta rallycross Supercars are class of the field. The powerful, 600-horsepower all-wheel drive machines are top performers that have scored countless wins and podiums at races around the world. Featuring sub-two-second 0-60 times, the turbocharged, all-wheel drive Supercars vehicles represent the top class of rallycross machine.
In the GRC Lites category, Olsbergs MSE Red Bull driver Mitchell DeJong has already secured the title with six wins and two second-place results in eight rounds. But he will face many challengers at the last race of the season, with a stacked field including Kevin Eriksson and younger brother Oliver Eriksson, as well as Andreas Bakkerud. Bakkerud is a top Olsbergs MSE Supercars driver in the World Rallycross Championship and makes his GRC Lites debut this week.
The final round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship takes place Tuesday and Wednesday with full coverage airing on NBC Sunday, November 16 at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). Wednesday’s competition will stream live from Las Vegas on RedBull.TV at http://win.gs/grcLVlive from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (local time).
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.
The team is led by CEO Andreas Eriksson, himself a championship rally driver and veteran rallycross driver. He is supported by three-time European Rallycross Champion Jussi Pinomäki as co-team manager.
In 2014, Olsbergs MSE has campaigned leading cars in World RX, the Global Rallycross Championship, and the Rallycross Supercar Scandinavia championship.
OLSBERGS MSE IS POWERED BY:
Ford (www.ford.com); Red Bull (www.redbull.com); Kobalt Tools (www.kobalttools.com); Bluebeam (www.bluebeam.com); Olsbergs (www.olsbergs.se); Ohlins (www.ohlins.com); Motegi Racing (www.motegiracing.com); AEM (www.aemelectronics.com); Eibach Springs (www.eibach.com); Royal Purple (www.royalpurple.com) Sparco (www.sparcousa.com); Magnaflow (www.magnaflow.com); Braille Battery (www.braillebattery.com); Alcon (www.alcon.co.uk); Sadev (www.sadev-tm.com); Mountune (www.mountune.com)