The 2013 Global Rallycross (GRC) season ended in spectacular fashion last Thursday, when Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen received his driver championship trophy after finishing the year’s final race in fourth place under the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip.
It was business as usual for Topi at the start of the day. After dominating his qualifying heat to earn a front row place on the starting grid, it seemed like an unprecedented sixth GRC victory could be a very real possibility. But in the final, Tanner Foust took control of the holeshot off the line with an incredible launch – albeit one that turned out to be an illegal jumpstart. Forced to take an immediate "stop and go" penalty, Foust relinquished the lead to Ken Block, who would go on to win the top spot in his first career GRC final.
While the frontrunners jousted at the head of the pack, Topi was weaving through a metallic swarm of swerving rally cars in a bid to reach the podium for a record ninth time this season. The Flying Finn skillfully maneuvered from sixth position to fourth place, where he encountered Travis Pastrana for what would become the most exciting stretch of the race. The two stars of the sport instantly began to battle one another for third place. They traded bumps neck and neck through the jump and wide turns of the specially constructed track on the Las Vegas Strip before Topi put Pastrana in a tailspin while making a play for the inside lane. The incidental contact garnered a devastating “stop and go” penalty for aggressive driving, effectively taking Topi out of podium contention. Pastrana would regain the third spot and hold on for his best finish of the year, behind Foust and Block.
For Topi, a special year has come to a close. With eight straight podium finishes, five consecutive race victories, back-to-back X Games gold medals and a slew of other incredible accomplishments, Topi pushed the limits of his sport while setting a standard that may not be matched for many years to come.
Following the finale, Topi reflected, “It´s sick how much things can change in one year. Hard work paid off in the best possible way. Thanks to all the fans who made this year incredible! Thanks also to Ford Racing, Team OMSE and Bluebeam for making this possible! I am very grateful to have sponsors that supported me throughout the year and glad to have gotten them the championship. I hope to be back next year to do it all over again.”
Bluebeam congratulates Topi on his incredible championship run this season, and is confident that Topi will continue to prove that there are no limits to what he can achieve.