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May 10, 2013 - 04:35 PM
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Ford Fiestas Set To Thrill As X Games Hits Europe
Posted by: newsla on May 10, 2013 - 04:30 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Ford Fiestas Set To Thrill As X Games Hits Europe


Seven flame-spitting Ford Fiesta ST Global Rallycross Cars will go for gold in Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium next Sunday (19 May) as the fast-growing phenomenon that is X Games rallycross roars into life in Europe for the first time.

 

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Ford is the sole automotive sponsor of the four 2013 summer X Games contests, each of which contains the emerging discipline of rallycross in its list of action sports. The Barcelona event marks the first occasion in which Europe has hosted the summer version of the Games.

It also forms the second round of the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC), and the Fiesta ST rallycross car is a major contender in the hands of leading teams OlsbergsMSE (Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan, Toomas Heikkinen and Patrik Sandell), OMSE2 (Scott Speed and Steve Arpin) and Hoonigan Racing Division (Ken Block).

Swedish rallycross preparation expert OlsbergsMSE operates the largest stable of factory-backed Ford Fiesta STs under the guiding hand of former driver Andreas Eriksson. Block and Hoonigan Racing Division round out Ford’s X Games / GRC team with a Fiesta ST RX43.

Based upon the recently-launched Fiesta ST road car, the four-wheel drive, 550PS rallycross car is capable of accelerating from 0-100kph faster than an F1 car.

Ford Fiestas claimed the top five positions in the opening X Games / GRC event at Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil as Speed triumphed ahead of Heikkinen, Sandell, Arpin and Deegan.

“X Games has a truly global audience,” said Ford Racing director Jamie Allison. “The fact that the summer Games are coming for the first time to two of Europe’s biggest cities, next weekend in Barcelona and in Munich at the end of June, will only enhance its profile. It’s the perfect match for Ford, not only as a competitor, but also as a sponsor.

“Both X Games and GRC generate speed and excitement through the performance of the cars and the skills of the drivers. The action is fast, furious and exhilarating, and watching our Fiesta ST GRC accelerate from 0-100kph in just two seconds has to be seen to be believed. Don’t blink or you’ll miss something!” he added.

What is X Games?
The brainchild of US sports broadcaster ESPN, X Games was launched as ‘Extreme Games’ in 1995, with the inaugural adrenaline-fuelled competition taking place on Rhode Island, New York. The four summer X Games now feature rallycross, motocross, BMX and skateboard showdowns and the Barcelona events are centred on the Catalan capital’s Olympic complex.

What is the Global Rallycross Championship?
The Global Rallycross Championship is a nine-round series that includes all four summer X Games fixtures. Ford clinched successive GRC manufacturers’ crowns in 2011 and 2012, whilst Foust drove a Fiesta to the drivers’ title in both campaigns.

How does it work?
Up to 20 of the world’s finest rallycross exponents pit themselves against one another in a cross between rallying and circuit racing, going wheel-to-wheel around a purpose-built, mixed-surface course featuring jumps, fast straights and challenging corners.

The competition begins with a practice session followed by timed qualifying – or seeding. Four heats ensue, with the top two finishers in each advancing to the 10-car final. Grid positions for the final are determined by seeding order.

The last two slots for the final are claimed by the highest two finishers in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), which unites all competitors who failed to progress directly from the heats.

There is a twist in the final, in that each driver must use a ‘joker’ lap once. The ‘joker’ briefly takes them on an alternative course, but the strategic element comes in judging when to deploy it. The top three finishers are awarded X Games gold, silver and bronze medals, with all finishers scoring points towards the Global Rallycross Championship.

Who to look out for
Steve Arpin
Date of birth: 16 December 1983
Lives: Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada
Team: OMSE2

Career highlights
2008 USAC Silver Crown Series champion
Seven-time snowmobile racing champion

Arpin has raced everything from karts to snowmobiles, moving up to stock cars in 2009. In 2010 he joined JR Motorsports, racing for Dale Earnhardt Jr in seven ARCA events, winning three. This is his first full GRC campaign.

Ken Block
Date of birth: 21 November 1967
Lives: Park City, Utah, United States
Team: Hoonigan Racing Division

Career highlights
12 Rally America victories
Silver medalist at X Games 18 in 2012

Block is one of the most well-known drivers. His viral videos are legendary. Gymkhana FIVE, filmed in the streets of San Francisco with a Ford Fiesta, has totalled almost 46 million views.

Brian Deegan
Date of birth: 9 May 1975
Lives: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Team: OlsbergsMSE

Career highlights
10-time X Games medalist
2012 Lucas Oil Off-Road-Racing champion

After making his name in freestyle motocross, Deegan switched to four wheels. He won a rallycross gold medal at X Games in 2011 and finished second in the 2012 GRC, with five podium finishes to his credit.

Tanner Foust
Date of birth: 13 June 1973
Lives: Dana Point, California, United States
Team: OlsbergsMSE

Career highlights
Triple X Games gold medalist
Global Rallycross champion in 2011 and 2012

Foust is one of motorsport’s most versatile figures, with success in rallycross, hillclimbing, drifting and sports cars. A Top Gear USA presenter and leading stunt driver, his movie credits include Dukes of Hazzard and Bourne Ultimatum.

Toomas Heikkinen
Date of birth: 27 March 1991
Lives: Joensuu, Finland
Team: OlsbergsMSE

Career highlights
2010 Finnish rallycross champion
Sixth in 2011 European Rallycross Championship

Heikkinen is just 22, but has race-winning pedigree in both Finland and the United States. He was sidelined from last year’s GRC after a huge accident, but returned with second place in the opening X Games / GRC event in Brazil. LAST MONTH.

Patrik Sandell
Date of birth: 21 April 1982
Lives: Ostersund, Sweden
Team: OlsbergsMSE

Career highlights
2006 Junior World Rally champion
Double Chinese rally champion

Sandell has enjoyed title-winning success in the World Rally Championship support series, and competed in the top level in WRC last year. He has more than 50 WRC starts to his name. This is his debut year in rallycross.

Scott Speed
Date of birth: 24 January 1983
Lives: Mt Holly, North Carolina, United States
Team: OMSE2

Career highlights
Formula Renault Eurocup champion in 2004
X Games gold medalist in Brazil in 2013

Speed drove in Formula 1 in 2006 and 2007 with Toro Rosso before switching to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the United States. He w on the opening X Games / GRC event of 2013 in Brazil last month after a last-lap pass.

Ford Fiesta ST Global Rallycross Car
Engine: 2.0-litre Ford Duratec DOHC I-4 with Garrett turbocharger
Power: 550PS
0-100kph: 2.0 seconds
Transmission: Four-wheel drive OlsbergsMSE-designed gearbox and ratios
Brakes: Alcon 365mm front, 315mm rear
Wheels: Motegi 8x17in custom design rallycross rims
Exterior: Kevlar body panels, carbon fibre rear spoiler

PaddockTalk Perspective



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