Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen will be looking forward to the next round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship a little more than the previous rounds as the championship heads to his home country of Finland.
Heikkinen will have to make the shortest journey of the season (just 320 kilometres from his home to circuit) after jet-setting around the world for the World RX and also taking part in the X Games in America.
“You really feel the support,” Heikkien said about his home crowd. “Finnish people are so passionate about rallycross and rallying: in fact the whole of motorsport in general. It’s pretty incredible when you think that we come from this little country of about five million people, and yet we all do so well in motorsport all over the world!
“People ask all the time why this is, but I guess it’s because we grow up with this culture and interest in motorsport – and also because we have lots of gravel roads and farms where it’s easy to practise driving and get a feel for what a car is doing and how it can slide. There’s not a big population in Finland and a lot of space: let’s just say that most of us probably start driving before we’re old enough to have real driving licences!”
“We’ve made some special arrangements and viewing areas so that people can have a weekend to remember,” adds Topi. “So now it’s down to me to provide that! I really hope I can do well, but I know that I’ve got the equipment and capability to do it. We were a bit unlucky at the last round in Norway, but hopefully that’s our bad luck out of the way now and we can concentrate on what we do best, which is winning.”
Heikkinen will be joined once again by American Global Rallycross star Tanner Foust and regular team-mate Anton Marklund in Finland.
“It’s great to have Tanner back with me and Anton,” said Heikkinen. “We know each other really well – we actually raced as team mates for two years in GRC – so he’s basically one of the family. I know we’re all going to have a lot of fun in Finland: the track is really up and down and spectacular; you’ve got a jump and it’s the sort of place that you need to stay completely concentrated.
“My tip for anyone watching is to go to the first corner: with five cars piling in there, side by side, you can be sure that something is going to happen there at some point.”
With three rounds down in the World Rallycross championship Heikkinen sits in third place, just 12 points behind series leader Reinis Nittis and will be looking to make the most of the home advantage.
“Our home event is really the perfect opportunity for me to thank all the people from home who have supported me over the years,” concludes Topi. “Without the help and the sponsorship that I had from Finland, there is no way I would be where I am today and I am very aware of that and grateful for that. There are so many people who helped and supported me: they know who they are and I want to say a big thank you. I’m sure there’s going to be a great weekend ahead of us!”