|Olsbergs MSE continues championship charge at Red Bull GRC in D.C.|
Team travels to Norway next weekend for World RX.
Olsbergs MSE Ford driver Sebastian Eriksson kept up the pressure at Round 7 of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship. After a challenging weekend, he remains second in the points heading into next month's Los Angeles doubleheader.
The series rookie found an ever-improving pace on the fast and wide Washington D.C. track at RFK Stadium. The Swede qualified eighth and grew faster each time he hit the mostly tarmac course in his Red Bull / Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST.
"I'm still learning how to find the pace on these temporary tracks. It's a real advantage if you have a background racing touring cars or go-karts," said the 22-year-old Eriksson, who has been a rallycross driver throughout his career. "I'm more used to making the dirt my advantage and it's a process to adapt."
In the Final, Eriksson started from the fourth row and began moving through the 10-car pack. After passing three cars with a well-timed Joker lap, he finished sixth. He now trails rival Ken Block in the championship by 41 points.
Teammate Joni Wiman was immediately comfortable on the D.C. circuit and looked poised for a strong result. The former open-wheel racer qualified in the top-three and won his second heat of the weekend, but his luck turned during the Semifinal round. A mechanical failure left him with only rear-wheel drive and he missed the first cut for the main event.
Wiman battled through the Last Chance Qualifier to earn a spot on the third row of the Final. But, as he pulled up to the line, he felt something break in the drivetrain of the car. He drove a lap with a broken differential and pulled off to prevent further damage.
"I had the pace and I felt I was driving one of the best races all year," said Wiman, who is seventh in the standings following the D.C. race. "At the Los Angeles doubleheader it is going to be critical for us to perform and make some moves in this championship."
The Finn took a pair of podiums in Los Angeles last year on his way to the 2014 Red Bull GRC title.
In Lites, Oliver Eriksson finished second -- his fifth podium result this year. He now sits third in the standings. Teammate Austin Cindric scored an-eighth place result after running wide while battling at the front of the pack and taking damage to his car. He is now fourth in the tight Lites championship battle, just one point behind Eriksson.
"It's important to find where I can get an advantage on these guys," said Cindric. "Everything is so close and the racing is really tough -- a tenth, or two-tenths can pay dividends when everything is so close."
Both drivers are in a strong position to make gains on the leaders at the upcoming doubleheader round. "The trick is going to be to keep a cool head and stay out of trouble at the next races -- and still go fast," said Eriksson.
Next, the Red Bull Global Rallycross team will travel to the Port of Los Angeles for Rounds 8 and 9 of the 2015 championship (September 12 and 13). But before then, Olsbergs MSE returns to the FIA World Rallycross Championship with Supercars drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitišs. They race the World RX of Norway August 21-23.
(Photo: Olsbergs MSE)