Newly crowned Global RallyCross champion Toomas Heikkinen is going for gold on the GRC final round of the year at the gambler’s paradise of Las Vegas in the United States on November 6 and 7.
For Topi, who swept to victory on this year’s Global RallyCross Championship with five spectacular wins all over the world, the last round in downtown Las Vegas next Thursday presents a golden opportunity to sign off his 2013 campaign in style. The ice-cool 22-year-old from Finland took the title at the last event in Charlotte, with one round left to go, at the wheel of his usual OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST. Putting out 560 horsepower, the turbocharged SuperCar accelerates from 0 to 100kph at more or less the same pace as Formula One machine. And although it’s now the last round of the season, with the title safely behind him, Topi’s flat-out approach is going to be no different to how it’s been all year.
“I’m really looking forward to next week,” he said. “I don’t know much about the course layout, but I think it’s going to be quite flat as it’s built in a parking lot. Because of that I’m not sure how much gravel there’s going to be either, so I guess we’re going to run quite a stiff set-up: a bit like a racing car, with high levels of downforce. We’re going there as champions for the first time, but to be honest that doesn’t make any difference: I always take each event as it comes and this one’s no different. There should be a great atmosphere as the circuit is close to the city centre, so we’re hoping to see lots of fans. And of course I’m going to do my best to try and win: that would be the best possible way to prepare for next year!”
But Topi knows that he will face some of the biggest stars in the sport, including Gymkhana legend Ken Block, former F1 driver Scott Speed and extreme sports specialist Travis Pastrana. There’s another big challenger Topi will be looking out for: his team mate Tanner Foust. “Tanner has been really fast all year and I’m sure he’s going to be strong again,” said Topi. “But one of the best things about Rallycross is that it’s very competitive because the gaps are always really small. In order to win, you have to be a little bit crazy sometimes!”
Las Vegas ends the Global RallyCross season for the second consecutive year. The lap starts with a long straight into the first corner. The asphalt section then features two sweeping corners into a hairpin, before drivers encounter a jump and the Joker Lap in the gravel section. The final corner is a wide left-hander, taking the drivers past the start-finish line at speed. Practice, qualifying and the opening heats in Las Vegas take place on Wednesday November 6, with the final heats, Last Chance Qualifier and the final itself on Thursday November 7. Expect to see some more Finnish magic…