Olsbergs MSE drivers Patrik Sandell and Joni Wiman have been knocking on the door of victory in both rounds of the Red Bull Global Rallycross season so far and it was Sandell who broke through to take victory in Washington D.C. while Wiman took the final podium place.
Race winner Sandell was understandably happy with the result and admitted that he was locked in on the track from the first few laps he turned. “Racing a track like this is more like driving a go-kart track than a traditional European-style rallycross course,” he said. “You have to be more precise and focus on getting a lot of speed out of the corners — and you must never, ever slide.”
Sandell battled through the heats and finished no lower than second to head straight in to the final for a front-row starting position. “I knew at the start of the Final that if I could lead through the first corner, I could win and I focused on that,” said Sandell. “When the light went green, I went for it.”
Despite pressure from Nelson Piquet Jr., who was also driving a Ford Fiesta ST, Sandell held on to the lead for all 10 laps to take the chequered flag.
Team-mate Wiman took his first podium of the year as was delighted to be on the podium so early in his rookie year. “Of course I’m really happy to be on the podium this weekend but I know I have more that I can do in Red Bull Global Rallycross,” said the Wiman. “I have made some mistakes this season and I’m hoping now that those are all out of my system.”
Wiman survived a brush with the wall during qualifying to take two wins in the opening heats and a front-row start in the Semifinal. A jump-start meant a stop-and-go penalty had to be served but that wasn’t enough to slow him down as he headed in to the finals where he fought to take third place despite engine problems.
“Competing in Lites last season was great preparation for driving the car, but the racing in the Supercars class is much more aggressive and that’s what I’ve been learning to handle. I’m improving in every race,” said Wiman.
Mitchell deJong added to the Olsbergs MSE joy for the weekend as he took his second win of the GRC Lites season ahead of team-mate Kevin Erikkson.
“It was a fantastic weekend for the Olsbergs MSE Ford team and all of our drivers,” said team owner Andreas Eriksson. “Our cars are strong and we’ve proven without a doubt that we are contenders in the championship this season.”
The team returns to Red Bull Global Rallycross July 19-20 in New York.