|Joni Wiman wins Red Bull Global Rallycross season finale in Las Vegas|
Oliver Eriksson grabs podium to seize Lites championship title.
Joni Wiman closed the 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship season with a win for the Olsbergs MSE Ford team at the Las Vegas season finale on Wednesday.
"I'm so happy: I've been waiting for this win for 20 races," said Wiman, jubilant after his first career victory in the Red Bull / Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST. "I had a completely clean race, with no mistakes, and that's how you do it."
Teammate Sebastian Eriksson drove his Red Bull / Bluebeam Ford Fiesta to second place, and scored the runner-up position in the 2015 championship. He also sealed his Rookie of the Year title with a record of five podiums in 12 starts, including a win in Daytona early in the season.
"It was an adjustment to race here in the United States where the tracks are so different," said Eriksson, who won the national rallycross title in his native Sweden last year before making the move to U.S. competition for 2015. "I'm proud of this Rookie of the Year season. We all worked hard for it."
In Lites, the next generation of rallycross superstars led Olsbergs MSE to its second-straight title in the development series. Oliver Eriksson finished the challenging Las Vegas race in third place to claim the championship crown. He scored nine podiums in 12 starts this year -- including three wins.
"I tried to stay clean, there were a lot of cars everywhere at the start and the windscreen was totally covered in mud," said Eriksson, who battled damage to the rear-right corner of his car for nine laps after taking a hit in the first corner. "It was a little sketchy during the last laps."
The 16-year-old said winning the title exceeded his expectations for his first full season of rallycross competition. "I hoped at the beginning of the season that I might be able to get a race win this year and now I'm standing here a champion," said Eriksson, from the podium. "This means everything to me."
Teammate Austin Cindric finished runner-up in the points after he spun off course while pushing for the race lead. He had an impressive season in the series, with eight podium results, including four wins.
Strong results from the Olsbergs MSE Supercars drivers at the Las Vegas race also clinched a fifth-consecutive Manufacturer's Championship for technical partner Ford.
The season ender, held under the glare of the lights of the famous Las Vegas Strip, was wild and unpredictable. Wet weather and night racing combined to create challenging conditions for drivers on the temporary track and there was plenty of contact as teams went all out for the final race of the year. Grandstands were packed to capacity, with event organizers reporting a sell-out crowd before gates even opened to the public on Wednesday afternoon.
Some 28 cars took the start in Las Vegas, with 14 cars in each category. The Lites entry included several OMSE guest drivers. Swedish Touring Car driver Andreas Wernersson finished second in his Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites debut, while American rallycross rookie Gustavo Menezes finished ninth. World RX Lites driver Sandra Hultgren scored an 11th place result in her first U.S. race.
For the fourth year in a row, the Red Bull GRC finale took place mid-week, during the Specialty Equipment Market Association show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. SEMA is the premier automotive aftermarket show in the world. Full coverage of the Las Vegas race streamed live on Red Bull TV and airs this Sunday, November 8, on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET. Coverage of the GRC Lites race is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. November 11.
While the 2015 Red Bull GRC season is in the books, there remains one race still to go in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The Olsbergs MSE team is set to close out their successful international season at World RX of Argentina November 27-29.
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|Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 November 2015 22:24 )|