The Fiesta ST is a force to be reckoned with and Ford’s little car proved it big time during its debut at the latest X Games event in Brazil. Scott Speed, a Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) rookie, took home the gold in the OlsbergsMSE Fiesta “Star Car” after grabbing second in qualifying, then scoring the first place win. Not only did the feisty Fiesta take home gold, silver, and bronze, but it swept first through fifth places taking over the podium and beyond.
"It feels unbelievable to win here in Brazil,” said Speed, whose versatility behind the wheel has seen him compete in Formula 1 and NASCAR. “I can’t say how happy I am for my team and the OlsbergsMSE guys that put in all the effort. This was such a new thing for me, so I didn’t know what to expect. To come out here and win is just great. It was a hard race, I definitely got bumped around, and I really thought it would be much easier racing. To win by taking the joker lap on the last corner to pull ahead is really spectacular.
"The first time I drove the Fiesta rallycross car was when I got here to Brazil. The learning curve was difficult, but thankfully it just fit my driving style, which is really good. This has been such a great experience. These cars are the most fun cars I’ve ever been able to drive, and I’ve driven a lot. I really hope that I can continue doing this type of sport.”
Toomas Heikkinen secured second place while GRC rookie, Patrik Sandell, took third earning his first X Games bronze medal. Both drivers were behind the wheel of OlsbergsMSE Fiesta STs. OlsbergsMSE is Ford Racing’s manufacturer partner, owning the field with all five Fiesta STs at the track in Foz do Iguaçu. Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan claimed fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Heikkinen came back for his second year at the track and grabbed both starts of the final race and lead five out of six laps. His Bluebeam Fiesta ST was close to grabbing first place before Speed overtook him in the last lap.
"It is really nice to have five cars in the top five and three on podium here at our first X games,” said OlsbergsMSE Team Principal Andreas Eriksson. ”The restart was unfortunate because I wished for a 10-car final not a six-car. Tanner’s car was fine and ready to go so it’s hard that he missed the final, but I am pleased all of my drivers and cars did so well.”
The GRC final began after four heats and one last chance qualifier (LCQ) with a total of 10 cars on the grid, but during the first corner on the first lap, a multiple car crash took out the Fiesta STs driven by Tanner Foust and Ken Block. Foust, two-time GRC champion, was forced out of the race after winning the elimination heat and advancing into the finals.
"At the start of the first lap in the final there were multiple crashes and I was hit by it seems like everyone,” said Foust. “My wheels and tires went crazy and the race was red flagged. They said in the drivers meeting today that if you had to work on your car you could not re-enter after a red flag. It’s a bummer because I only had about eight minutes of track time in Brazil, just a lot of practice. I’m just glad that there are four of these and this isn’t the only X Games this year and I’ll have another shot."
Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division M-Sport built Fiesta ST set the pace early earning the fastest practice lap during the first day in Brazil and finished second in his heat. But like Foust, he was forced out early by a wreck on the first lap.
"Because of qualifying I wasn’t able to get the starting position I wanted,” said Block. “Even if I won my heat today, I still wouldn’t have the optimum starting position so starting on the second line just one car over from the inside was actually a decent starting position. I knew that all I needed was a good launch and then get through the gears, get to the inside and basically follow the number one seed around on the inside. Everything went perfectly to plan. I got a decent launch, got up right where I wanted to be off the dirt, and all of a sudden my car started spinning the other direction. I was turned by one of the cars behind me, the wrong direction and into Tanner and either Deegan or Travis. Unfortunately, one of the impacts there into one of those cars broke my steering so within 100 yards I was out of the race. It was a big bummer because I did everything I could to try to have a good weekend. My team did an incredible job getting me prepared and getting the car perfect.”
If you are looking forward to more of the Global Rallycross Championship, these guys will be back at it again at May 19th in Barcelona, Spain.