SNOQUALMIE, Wash. (September 27, 2014) – Olsbergs MSE rookie Joni Wiman is in the lead of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship after a podium performance this weekend in front of a sell-out crowd in the Pacific Northwest.
The 20-year-old Red Bull/Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST driver won both of his heats on the way to a second-place finish on Saturday to advance to the top of the standings. With one race remaining on the 2014 calendar, Wiman now leads the title chase by 12 points over fellow Ford driver Ken Block.
“It’s surprising to be here in my first season of Supercars competition,” said Wiman. “Now it comes down to keeping a cool head at the final race in November and we’ll see where we end up in the championship.”
Wiman admitted it took him some time to adapt to the 65 percent dirt and gravel course, but he said it came together for him during Friday’s qualifying session when he set the second-fastest lap to earn a front-row starting position.
“I found an extra gear and pushed my competitive limit,” said Wiman. “At that point, once the clock was running, I got the idea of how to drive fast on this course.”
He said that working with teammate Patrik Sandell was a big help. With more than 50 World Rally Championship starts to his name, Sandell was in his comfort zone on the rough track in the Kobalt Tools Ford Fiesta ST. The two drivers worked together to compare notes between sessions.
“It was so much fun to drive here in Washington,” said Sandell, who crossed the line in second place during early heat racing. “The course was mostly dirt and it felt like we were going back to the roots of rallycross.”
After a confident start in the final, Wiman and Sandell were in second and third positions by the middle of the race. But while Wiman worked to reel in race leader Sverre Isachsen in the closing laps, Sandell suffered a flat front tire and began to lose ground.
Wiman crossed the line in second, while Sandell was able to fight his car to the finish in seventh place. “Punctures were an issue for everybody all weekend long,” said Sandell. “This old lumber mill near Seattle is a really cool location but there are a lot of things in the ground that can tear a hole in a tire — and I found one of them.”
The race win went to Isachsen. Wiman finished second, while third place went to fellow Ford driver Brian Deegan.
GRC Lites also returned to the series this weekend in Seattle for their eighth round of 2014 competition. Red bull / Olsbergs MSE driver Mitchell DeJong scored yet another win — his sixth of the season — to tie up his first GRC Lites championship title. Although there is one race remaining in the season, there is no driver close enough in points to overtake DeJong for the championship.
Full coverage of the Round 9 of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship airs on NBC Sunday September 28 at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). Championship competition resumes with the tenth and final round of the 2014 season in Las Vegas on November 5.
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.
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)