A broken driveshaft ended Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen‘s hopes of taking home a medal home from the Circuit of the Americas as X Games and the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship headed to Austin.
The 23-year-old GRC reigning champion made a one-off appearance ins search for another X Games Gold medal as he went up against 18 other drivers including the likes of Tanner Foust, Ken Block, Travis Pastrana and Liam Doran.
After securing a place in the top-three he progressed through to the quarter finals, starting from the front row for his heat. A excellent start lead him in to the top three which would have seen him progress through to the semi-finals if it wasn’t for a broken driveshaft leaving him with just two-wheel drive.
The issues then escalated when a small fire broke out under the car as a result of the driveshaft breaking and leaking oil; Fortunately Heikkinen managed to pull his Marklund VW to the side of the track where the fire was extinguished by the safety team but this would mark the end of his medal charge.
“It’s gutting, no question about it,” said Topi. “It’s pretty clear that we had the pace: in fact another Volkswagen Polo won, driven by Scott Speed, so well done to him but I’d like to think that I might have had the chance of challenging for that too.
“Anyway, it’s over now and I’m always a positive sort of person, so I’m already looking forward to our next event. And the fact that we weren’t able to go beyond the quarterfinals doesn’t take anything away from the great time I had visiting America: it felt good to be back!
“The X Games use slightly different rules to World Rallycross, so we used the first day to set up the cars and get used to the new tyres and engine maps: there was a lot to get used in a short space of time. Also, we came straight to the USA from the last world championship round in England, so really we were all up against it.
“These things just happen sometimes. We’ve learned a lot – and we’ll definitely be aiming to get that medal back next year!”