Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen became the first driver to capture two Rallycross gold medals in X Games history on Sunday in Los Angeles, while adding a record fourth consecutive Global Rallycross (GRC) victory to his list of incredible 2013 accomplishments. The race closed out the final Summer X Games in Los Angeles, an event that has represented the mecca of extreme sports for over a decade.
Records are nothing new for Topi this year, dubbed as “the hottest driver in the sport” by ESPN. The young Finn’s accomplishments have set the bar very high for many years to come, including four GRC wins in a row (and counting), youngest to win X Games Rallycross gold and the only driver ever to win this event twice. And, with last year’s devastating crash at this very same event in his rear view mirror and a giant target on his back as the GRC points leader, Topi had to once again prove that he had the talent and grit necessary to win the race.
Topi started off the day strong, winning his qualifying heat for the 5th time in 6 races this season to secure a spot in the first row of the starting grid. Just like every race this season, the entire field launched into a stampede to reach the first turn ahead of the pack when the lights turned green. There were bumps between Liam Doran and Ken Block in lap one, which quickly escalated into numerous collisions that claimed nearly half the field. But Topi stayed clear of the scramble to emerge undamaged and in the holeshot. He later explained, "I was a little bit lucky on the first corner. Then they started crashing other guys and you're never going to win doing that."
As the race continued, the course began to resemble a post-apocalyptic scene. Debris was strewn across the dirt and pavement track at the Irwindale Speedway, to the point where unintentional obstacles seemed to equal the intended ones. One thing remained clear amid the chaos: Topi’s skillful, high-speed maneuvering could turn his lead into a victory if he maintained focus and kept tight to the inside line. Tanner Foust was in hot pursuit, but did not catch Topi on the joker lap and had to settle for Silver as Topi crossed the finish line four seconds ahead. Emotions ran high as Topi celebrated on the track, standing on his car to wave at the cheering crowd, and embracing his dad who flew out from Finland to see the race.
With four wins and six podium finishes under his belt, Topi is very close to securing the driver’s championship this season, even with three races to go in this season’s GRC circuit. He now heads to Atlanta, Georgia to continue his dominant display at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 10.