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X Games Preview: Olsbergs MSE

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

Olsbergs MSE has been the hottest team on the Global Rallycross circuit all season, primarily behind the strength of drivers Marcus Gronholm and Tanner Foust. Gronholm has paced the field in every single session he’s run, from qualifying to heat races to both main events, while Foust has been right behind him in every instance. Add Brian Deegan’s third place run at Hoon Kaboom at Texas Motor Speedway, and bursts of speed from both David Binks and Toomas Heikkinen, and the five Olsbergs Ford Fiestas should be up front for the majority of X Games.

Here’s what to expect from the Swedish-backed team in Los Angeles:

#3 Marcus Gronholm (1st in points, 43; 2 wins, 3 heat wins): “If you want to win, employ a Finn,” or so the old adage goes. That’s been the case thus far this year with Gronholm, who has won in each of his five starts this season (three heats and two finals). He couldn’t pull off any victories in last year’s X Games, scoring silver in the head-to-head event and bronze in rallycross, but after dominating this year thus far, there’s no reason to expect the unexpected.

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

#34 Tanner Foust (2nd in points, 37; best finish 2nd, 3 heat wins): It’s a good thing that Foust had a chance to win last year’s GRC title by virtue of Gronholm skipping an event, because it looks like the fellow Ford driver won’t have much of a chance at this year’s championship. The three-time X Games gold medalist will need to find something else in Los Angeles if he wants to do any better than silver this time around.

#17 David Binks (6th in points, 22; best finish 5th): The British import has proven consistently solid in his first year racing in the United States, earning his way into both finals and scoring seventh and fifth place finishes, respectively. His background is in multi-surface rallycross, meaning that the adjustment to X Games shouldn’t take very long. Like countryman Liam Doran did last year, Binks could pull out a surprise finish at X Games.

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

#38 Brian Deegan (8th in points, 18; best finish 3rd, 2 heat wins): The General of the Metal Mulisha may have had his season championship hopes compromised at Charlotte, but a podium finish at Texas has him in the competition for the Discount Tire/America’s Tire Cup and built up some good momentum for Los Angeles. It’s a good thing, too, because Deegan loves the X Games: he scored silver medals in both head-to-head and rallycross in 2010, and won gold in rallycross last year.

#57 Toomas Heikkinen (14th in points, 7; best finish 10th, 1 heat win): Already the man they call Topi has become the most divisive young figure in a series that is pretty young itself. He’s gotten on the nerves of both Travis Pastrana and Dave Mirra with his aggressive driving, and earned black flags at both Charlotte and Texas. For that reason, he didn’t earn his way into an automatic berth at X Games. Heikkinen won’t be in the title hunt, but the aggressive young driver could live up to his reputation in Los Angeles with a win.

– Chris Leone

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