|Sebastian Eriksson scores double podiums in Detroit rallycross|
Olsbergs MSE driver second and closing in Red Bull GRC title chase.
Olsbergs MSE driver Sebastian Eriksson is closing in on the lead in the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship after a pair of podium finishes this weekend at the Detroit doubleheader.
"It was good that I caught up to the leader a little over the weekend and now have a bit of a gap to the drivers behind me as well," said Eriksson, who drove his No. 93 Red Bull / Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST to a pair of third-place results and now trails points leader Ken Block by just 26 points. A race win in the series is worth 50 points.
Teammate Joni Wiman also put in a solid performance in his No. 31 Red Bull / Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST. He finished fifth on Saturday and improved his position to fourth on Sunday. He said the doubleheader results weren't the podiums he had hoped to achieve, but they did give him some much-needed points for his championship chase. He climbed three positions in the standings and is now sitting fourth overall.
"It felt like it was a lot about getting into traffic and being at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Wiman. "Overall, though, it was an OK weekend and I'm happy to be moving in the right direction."
The Finnish driver said he felt back-footed from the start of the contest when last-minute coursework forced officials to cancel qualifying sessions and drivers were seeded into the first of two races this weekend based on their points position. After missing the season opener, Wiman has been working his way up the rankings but he still found himself assigned a seventh-place qualifying position for the first race of the weekend.
"At least if we had done the qualifying it would have felt like it was up to me, but to have my starting order determined by points meant it felt like there was nothing I could really do to improve my position," said a disappointed Wiman.
He fought through the Last Chance Qualifier both days and had to start near the back of the grid in both finals. Even so, he showed his skills in traffic to work his way through the pack and challenge for the podium.
The Belle Isle rallycross course in Detroit was tight, technical, and mostly tarmac - with only about 20 percent dirt. It featured the massive wooden jump first introduced at the Florida season opener, and a Joker lap shortcut that gave drivers a huge, six-second advantage.
Eriksson and Wiman both wowed the crowd with some of the biggest jumps of the weekend, launching more than 130-feet through the air as they pushed hard for an advantage.
In GRC Lites, Austin Cindric earned a pair of third-place finishes and leads the points chase in the support series, while teammate Oliver Eriksson finished fifth and seventh in the two races of the weekend and is now fifth. The 16-year-old Eriksson said he learned a lot, even though it was frustrating at times. "I lost a lot of points, but I gained a lot of experience," he said Sunday.
Up next in Red Bull Global Rallycross for the team is a return to Washington, D.C. August 15. But before then, Olsbergs MSE's FIA World Rallycross Championship team of Reinis Nitišs and Andreas Bakkerud will travel to Canada to race their OMSE Ford Supercars at World RX of Canada August 7 and 8 in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.
(Photos: Olsbergs MSE)