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Heikkinen Poised To Break Out In 2013 GRC Season

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

Olsbergs MSE driver Toomas Heikkinen missed two of the six rounds in this year’s Global Rallycross Championship after a spectacular crash in practice for X Games left him recovering from a broken left ankle. After recovering in time for the final two races of the season, the 21-year-old Finn showed promise that left fans wondering what might have been this year, but hopeful for his GRC future.

Heikkinen closed out the season 14th in points with 33, only two points behind Dave Mirra and Bucky Lasek, both of whom competed in all six events. He scored 25 of those points in the final two events, by virtue of a fourth place finish at Las Vegas in September and a fifth place run at SEMA on Tuesday. Only three drivers—Tanner Foust with 43, Brian Deegan with 36, and Rhys Millen with 26—scored more points than Heikkinen in the past two races.

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

For the season finale at SEMA, Heikkinen could only muster the 11th fastest time in seeding, but his successes came when it counted—in the races themselves. He finished between Foust and Millen in Monday’s heat, and he scored the last transfer spot in the last chance qualifier behind Deegan. Then, as other drivers beat themselves and their cars up in the final, Heikkinen managed to navigate past the damage and scored his second top five finish in a row.

All in all, Heikkinen made it to the main event in three of his four appearances this season, the lone exception coming at Texas when he was disqualified in the last chance qualifier there. He also won the second heat race at Charlotte, giving him a direct transfer and front row starting spot in the final there.

The question isn’t if Heikkinen will improve on his 2012 results in 2013, it’s only a question of how much. Young, talented, and sponsored, there’s a good chance that he returns to Olsbergs next year, especially after his on-track discipline improved greatly in the final two events. The Ford Fiesta remains the best car in the series, and should only get better if Ford’s rumored decision to expand its rallycross commitments comes through. With a full slate of races under his belt, Heikkinen should have no problem cracking the top 10 in next year’s points, maybe even reaching the top five, and potentially even scoring a victory.

– Chris Leone

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