Reigning Global Rallycross Champion Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen was happy with his return to European-based competition this weekend as he took fourth place in the final race of the weekend, and holds third place in the FIA World Rallycross Championship drivers’ standings after a strong opening weekend.
Heikkinen put in a great performance from the start of the weekend when he took two second place finishes on the opening day, two further heats would result in a third and a fifth place before heading on to the semi-finals. Heikkinen would do battle with Petter Solberg in the semi-final race to take second place just behind the 2003 World Rally champion.
Things looked promising in the final as he once again took on Solberg in the opening laps and would only miss out on a podium finish as he and team-mate Anton Marklund took their joker laps on lap 5. The two Olsbergs MSE Fords took their joker on the opening lap so were in a prime position to pounce on the two Marklund VW’s.
“Make no mistake, this was a promising weekend and I have to be happy to be third in the overall points at the start of this exciting new adventure,” said Topi. “My Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar has a lot of potential and I’m confident that there is much more to come from the car but also from me.
“After Petter Solberg got ahead of me at the first corner of our semi-final it was all about securing my place in the final. I made good start from the second row in the final but I was unable to match Petter’s speed. The Fords took the joker lap at the start and I tried to push to gain enough of a gap for my own joker lap. I took my joker on the second to last lap but the Fords passed me and I finished fourth.
“After the heats on Saturday we changed the gear ratios to try to find some more speed for the long main straight as some of my rivals seemed to have more speed. But the balance of the car was good all weekend and to be fourth after the heats was not so bad at all.
Heikkenen already has his sights set on the next round at Lydden Hill when World RX heads to Britain and despite not having any prior experience of the track, is looking to improve on his fourth place finish.
“Before the World RX of Great Britain I know my team will be working hard to find even more performance from the car. The race is at Lydden Hill and, like Montalegre, that’s another new track for me. But I’m excited by the challenge and I can’t wait to compete in front of the British fans, especially if they’re as passionate and enthusiastic as what we experienced in Portugal this weekend.”