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GRC Insider: Eriksson To Replace Gronholm At Las Vegas

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

For the second year in a row, Olsbergs MSE CEO Andreas Eriksson will take the wheel of Marcus Gronholm’s No. 3 Best Buy Ford Fiesta in a Global Rallycross Championship event, doing so this time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 29.

Last year, Gronholm had another commitment outside of the GRC that required a substitute driver in the two rounds at Old Mill Adventure Park in Snoqualmie, WA. This time, however, Gronholm remains sidelined with injuries from his serious accident at X Games, and will not be cleared by his doctors to compete again until October at the earliest. According to the official news release on Olsbergs’ Facebook, Gronholm will be in Vegas with the team despite remaining on the sidelines.

 

Enter Eriksson, who scored an impressive 37 points in his two championship rounds last season. Eriksson took first place in Super Rally, while he added a third place run and two bonus points in Rallycross. Those 37 points, combined with Gronholm’s 112, would have been enough to surpass OMSE teammate Tanner Foust’s 134 for the drivers’ championship.

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

Eriksson also competed in the first five races of the 2011 European Rallycross Championship, ranking eighth in points after the first half of the season and scoring a best finish of second in Portugal. Of note, teammate Foust became the first American to ever win in the ERC at that event, while four drivers in the top five of that event have moved on to GRC competition. Before climbing back behind the wheel in a race situation, Eriksson did some testing this season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he briefly drove David Binks’ car during shakedown laps on Thursday of that weekend.

Originally a five-car team, OMSE has contracted its operations to only three cars for Foust, Binks, and Brian Deegan since X Games, when both Gronholm and Toomas Heikkinen suffered their injuries. Las Vegas will represent the first time since June that the team brings five cars to the track, as Heikkinen has recovered from his injuries.

 

– Chris Leone

 

 

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