MUNICH, Germany - A victory by Toomas Heikkinen in the second of two Global Rallycross (GRC) events at X Games Munich on Sunday helped Ford Fiesta ST earn four of six X Games medals this weekend.
For Heikkinen, it was his first gold medal and his third podium in GRC this season. The Bluebeam OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta driver finished with a gold and bronze in two races this weekend.
“Yeah! I just got gold and I am pretty sure I am leading the championship,” said Heikkinen. “This race was quite fun for us, it was amazing for Ford. Liam (Doran) had the lead around the first corner but after that I tried to catch him and he made a little mistake and I passed him. My spotter told me I was fast and had made a large gap so from there the race was quite simple but it was a fun track.”
Heikkinen posted the fastest overall qualifying time and then went on to win his first GRC heat by eight seconds. At the start of the 10-lap final, Heikkinen battled with Doran and OlsbergsMSE (OMSE) team-mate Brian Deegan for the lead position. By the third lap the OMSE Ford Fiesta ST driver was not only leading the pack, but leaving the competition behind. Heikkinen won the second GRC race at X Games Munich by four seconds and claimed the lead in the drivers’ championship.
“I had a big crash last year at X Games and I feel I have grown up this year,” said Heikkinen. “Even at the last race in Las Vegas last season I think I showed my speed and I think now we are there with a top qualifying time. It was the right day for us and I am so proud to have a gold. In practice my Ford Fiesta ST was the fastest, I am just so happy and I have to say thank you for my OMSE team, Ford and Bluebeam. I owe this one to my family, team and sponsors who had always pushed me.”
A third place finish by Tanner Foust in the second GRC race at X Games Munich secured the first podium appearance of the season for the two-time GRC Champion. The Rockstar Energy OMSE Ford Fiesta ST driver finished second in his heat and third in the final for his first X Games medal this season.
“I am glad to get a little bit of hardware this weekend and my seventh X Games medal,” said Foust. “It felt like I got pretty lucky on the start because I was in one of the worst positions and to come out of the turn in fourth there isn’t a lot of skill there, just luck.
“You really get everything at GRC with jumps, sliding, mud, fire, but I literally went under a Subaru in the final. It literally rose up and I went under it, right through the exhaust, underneath the engine and then I saw Isachsen drop down on my right which was just amazing. That was enough drama to filter out some of the competition while I kept racing in fourth place until I passed (Brian) Deegan for third.”
The Ford Fiesta ST driver qualified seventh which gave him a disadvantage on his track position in final. Foust started on the inside of the third row and was able to pull out in fourth after the first corner. Rockstar Energy team-mate Deegan led Foust in third until his tyre came off and forced him to retire on the first lap. With a clean line to third, Foust chased Doran and Heikkinen for the remaining nine laps and finished third, just over nine seconds behind Heikkinen.
“I didn’t qualify that well which put me on the second or third row of the final and I sat on the grid thinking of all the different strategies I could try,” said Foust. “You go through all the different scenarios on the line of what could happen or if you stumbled on the start what you would do but there is no telling of what is going to happen. I just didn’t want to go crashing through people and didn’t want to be that guy even though I’ve been hit multiple times by people in the second row this year. But that causes red flags and restarts which is no fun.
“I stayed clean and got the jump on Ken (Block) because he jumped the start a little bit which gave me a clear line until the Subaru came out of nowhere, hit the water barrier, went flying through the air and acted like a linebacker clearing out a gap and I just went through the hole.”
Foust finished sixth in the first GRC race on Saturday, after two hard hits which caused major damage to his Ford Fiesta ST. Foust’s OlsbergsMSE team worked through the night to repair his car and had it ready for its first podium appearance this season.
“Yesterday was rough,” said Foust. “The first corner was just pinball. I got hit one way then did a 360 another way and all corners of the car got destroyed. After the race Andreas, the OlsbergsMSE team owner, said I was done for the next race and that the car could not be fixed but Aspen, Marcus and Tony are my three mechanics that cranked all through the night to fix it. There were a few issues this morning in practice from the damage but they had time to fix it again and it was 100 percent for the final and so a huge thanks is owed to those guys for getting me here.”
Ford had six cars in the Global Rallycross final at X Games Munich on Sunday and won two out of the three heats Fiesta ST competed in with Heikkinen and Deegan.
In the Global Rallycross race the previous day, which served as a make-up for the cancelled race at X Games in Barcelona, Spain last month, Block and Heikkinen earned silver and bronze medals.
GRC RACE 2 FORD FINISHING RESULTS
1. Toomas Heikkinen
3. Tanner Foust
5. Steve Arpin
6. Townsend Bell
9. Brian Deegan
DRIVERS’ POINTS (Ford drivers in bold)
1. Toomas Heikkinen 55
2. Liam Doran 43
3. Tanner Foust 37
4. Scott Speed 32
5. Brian Deegan 32
6. Steve Arpin 31
1. Ford 109
2. Dodge 27
3. Subaru 20
The Global Rallycross Championship will next run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Thursday, July 11, 2013 for the series’ first standalone race.