Wiman wins, Speed scoops title in Las Vegas


Scott Speed in practice at Red Bull Global Rallycross Las Vegas on 3rd of November, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV USA.

2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross champion Joni Wiman finally won his maiden Red Bull GRC Supercars final in Las Vegas as Scott Speed won his first championship crown.

Horrendous weather conditions effected the event with much of the field involved in incidents in the early heat races, notably Ken Block – who was looking for his third straight Las Vegas win. He had a heavy wreck in the first heat race, and although he managed to continue in the event, the early shunt appeared to end any hopes of a Vegas hat trick.

Steve Arpin and Speed shared the early heat wins. Speed’s victory in Heat 1B came in an event blighted by an early crash that wiped out Austin Dyne, Tanner Foust and David Higgins, who was unable to rejoin the race – a race which was eventually red flagged early due to heavy rain.

When the racing resumed, Nelson Piquet Jr. took first in heat 2A with the Olsbergs pairing of Sebastian Eriksson and Joni Wiman sweeping 2B.

Piquet looked set to back up his heat win with a victory in Semi Final A after holding off a charging Patrik Sandell at the start. However, it wasn’t Sandell which would snatch victory from the Brazilian, Joni Wiman moved up to first place with a move on the last lap of the race. Sandell eventually missed out on a top three and automatic transfer spot in the final as he ceded third to Steve Arpin, who battled back from a stop/go penalty, on the final lap.

Another driver who missed out on a chance to advance to the final despite being in a position to do so was Sverre Isachsen. The Subaru driver was running in third position until he made heavy contact with an outside wall.

In Semi Final B, Scott Speed used his front row start to his advantage to take an early lead. He was never troubled, taking the semi final win, giving himself pole position for the final. Sebastian Eriksson finished in second place with Foust clinging onto his slim championship hopes with a third place finish.

The Last Chance Qualifier saw Brian Deegan, Austin Dyne, Bucky Lasek and Ken Block advance to the final after an early race red flag which was the result of a first lap incident involving Pat Moro and David Higgins as well as Dyne and Block.

After winning the 2014 championship in Las Vegas, Wiman finally took his maiden race win in Sin City in '15 - Credit: Larry Chen
After winning the 2014 championship in Las Vegas, Wiman finally took his maiden race win in Sin City in ’15 – Credit: Larry Chen

In the final, Scott Speed only needed a top eight finish to clinch the title. Despite that, the former F1 driver launched into an early lead, although he didn’t keep it for long. Joni Wiman and Sebastian Eriksson soon got by Speed, who looked to be playing the conservative game with the championship on his mind.

Wiman and Eriksson held onto their 1-2 finish, Wiman taking the win by just under eight seconds at the checkered flag. Speed held onto third which was more than enough to secure the championship.

Steve Arpin finished the final in fourth place, ahead of Brian Deegan and Nelson Piquet Jr. Austin Dyne and Bucky Lasek were the last two drivers to finish on the lead lap.

Speed’s championship rival and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team mate Foust had his title hopes ended on lap one as he was forced into the wall at the first turn. He eventually finished in ninth, two laps down, ahead of only Ken Block who retired.

The final points standings see Scott Speed at the top of the table, 56 points ahead of Sebastian Eriksson who took fellow Daytona winner Foust’s runner-up spot thanks to his Vegas podium. Foust did manage finish in the top three however, 68 points back from Speed, with Nelson Piquet Jr. and Joni Wiman completing the top five.

In GRC Lites it was 16-year-old Oliver Eriksson who continued Olsberg’s domination of the category by taking the championship crown in his first season. He went in the final GRC Lites race second in the standings to team mate Austin Cindric but the American was involved in a first lap incident that took him out of the race, handing the title to Eriksson. The race win went to Alex Keyes.

Oliver Eriksson wrapped up the GRC Lites title - Credit: Josh Tons
Oliver Eriksson wrapped up the GRC Lites title – Credit: Josh Tons