Reigning Global Rallycross champion Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen has set his sights on adding another championship title to his name as he takes on talent around the globe in the inaugural season of the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
The 23-year-old Finn had an impressive 2013, which saw him become the Global Rallycross champion, 2 x X Games Winner, 4 x X Games Medalist and 5 x Global Rallycross race winner.
The news season kicks off next week in Portugal and the VW Polo RX driver is looking forward to the season ahead, despite admitting it is going to be a tough year.
“We’re targeting the title but of course we’ll have to work hard for it because it won’t come easy,” said Heikkinen, “You have to be consistent, you have to have a good car, be good at the start of the races, be aggressive, but also keep out of trouble. Every team is building their rallycross car in a different way so you will see many different types of car in the top five, which will make it really interesting.”
Topi has undergone an extensive pre-season test programme in the #57 Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo RX which will culminate in a final test in Portugal next Thursday. “We want to have the best car for when the season starts and that’s what we’ve been hunting for with the testing,
“We don’t have a lot of work to do to make the car perfect, but we’re working right now to find those special things and make sure the parts we’re using are the best parts and as light as possible. But as we’re going to have some contact in the races, our car needs to take the hits too, so you have to find the balance between performance and reliability.”
Heikkinen will be up against 18 other drivers in the Supercar class including double European Rallycross champion Timur Timerzyanov, ex-WRC champion Petter Solberg, former F1 champion Jacques Villenueve and the winner of the 2013 European Rallycross round in Portugal Liam Doran.
“It’s going to be an exciting season with lots of good drivers of different ages and with different experience,” said Topi. “You have guys coming from Formula One and rallies and they will bring their own fans and own styles, and that’s really building rallycross right now.
“For Montalegre, which is a really fast and technical track, you need to have good brakes for after the long straight and in the technical section. We have very good brakes from the Polo World Rally Car so hopefully our car can make a difference. The temperature can be quite high so we will have to look after the tyres well as there is a lot of Tarmac.
The all-new FIA World Rallycross Championship gets underway in Portugal from May 3-4 at the Montalegre track.