Olsbergs MSE Ford team made a brilliant start to their 2014 season as the Red Bull Global Rallycross season got under way at the Top Gear Festival Barbados.
2013 GRC Lites champion Joni Wiman showed he has what it takes to mix it with the top class in the Red Bull/Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST, confidently winning two out of three of his heat races, giving him a clear path to the final race.
Team-mate Patrik Sandell aslo put in strong performances over the heats to make it through to the final without having to take part in the LCQ race,
Wiman, a protégé of four-time GRC Supercars race winner (and two-time World Rally champion) Marcus Gronholm, made a brilliant start to the final and had just made a pass on Ken Block for the lead before the Gymkhana star rolled his Hoonigan Racing Ford Fiesta on the final corner of the first lap, bringing out the red flags and prompting a restart.
With the race restarted Wiman lead once again, fending off eventual winner Scott Speed, unfortunately a miscalculation on the joker lap pushed him back down the order. Wiman would fight on to finish third on track but officials later added a post-race penalty for contact, leaving him to take fifth place.
“We accomplished a lot and proved how fast we can be,” said Wiman after the race. “We came so close — I just wish there could have been a podium. It will come next time.”
Sandell also showed potential through the final as he surged towards the front of the pack, a puncture as a result of being pushed off-line would mean it was all but over for the Swede. He pushed on for several laps before retiring his car as to not cause further damage. Despite the DNF he would be classed as eighth-place to pick up points.
“We worked well together as a team and the Kobalt Tools Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST is very fast,” said Sandell. “As a driver with a background in rally racing competing on a road course here in Barbados, this has been a learning weekend. We scored some great points to open the season and I’m looking forward to getting onto some dirt at X Games in three weeks!”
Andreas Eriksson, owner of the three-time defending GRC championship team was happy with the teams performance in the opening round and is looking forward to seeing what the rest of 2014 brings. “This was a power track with a very long opening straight, and the team cars performed flawlessly here,” said Eriksson. “There is no question that our drivers have the potential to win in this series and we’re on track for 2014.”