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Olsbergs MSE team drivers first and third in Ford D.C. podium sweep
Patrik Sandell wins Red Bull Global Rallycross; Joni Wiman third
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 23, 2014) - The Olsbergs MSE squad scored an exciting double-podium result in Washington D.C., this weekend when Patrik Sandell scored the win in the Kobalt Tools Ford Fiesta ST and teammate Joni Wiman finished third in the Red Bull/Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST.
Both drivers emerged as early contenders for the win at the race, held at RFK Stadium in the nation's capital -- just a few miles from the White House. It was the first D.C. stop in series history and fans packed into the venue for two days of exciting racing Saturday and Sunday.
Sandell said he discovered the secret to success in D.C. during his initial laps on the tight and technical course. "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."
Through two days of tough heat racing, Sandell never finished lower than second to bypass the Last Chance Qualifier and advance directly to the Final, where he had 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."
Under pressure from a stacked field of drivers, including former Formula One star Nelson Piquet Jr., the Kobalt Tools driver kept his cool and held the lead position for all 10 laps to the checkered flag.
Teammate Joni Wiman secured his first podium of the year with third place in the Red Blue/Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST. The rookie driver said he was thrilled to join his teammate Sandell on the podium -- although he admitted he is looking forward to his turn on the top step.
"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 rookie Wiman. "I have made some mistakes this season and I'm hoping now that those are all out of my system."
After brushing the wall during qualifying sessions Saturday, Wiman won both of his opening heats to earn a front-row starting position in the Semifinal. There, he burst off the line too soon and had to serve a stop-and-go penalty. But Wiman fought his way back into contention to advance directly to the Final round.
Wiman's battle through traffic in the Final was intense, and an engine issue emerged late in the race that saw him losing power as he fought to maintain his podium position. Still, the Red Bull/Bluebeam driver crossed the line in third place to earn the first Supercars podium of his young career.
The 20-year-old Wiman swept the 2013 GRC Lites championship and joined Olsbergs MSE in 2014 for his first season of Supercars competition.
"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.
It was a Ford podium sweep: between Sandell and Wiman, former Formula One driver Nelson Piquet Jr. scored second place in a Ford Fiesta originally built for competition by Olsbergs MSE and now campaigned by SH Racing. Both Olsbergs MSE Ford drivers are now in the Top 5 in the championship standings, with Sandell tied for third and Wiman right behind him, in fifth.
In addition to the Supercars competition, eight GRC Lites returned to the series for their second round of 2014 competition. Olsbergs MSE team drivers Mitchell DeJong and Kevin Eriksson repeated their opening round performance, finishing first and second. The GRC Lites, purpose-built 310 horsepower rallycross racers, were designed and built by Olsbergs MSE as a development series for the sport of rallycross.
"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. World RX drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss will appear next weekend in Kuovola, Finland, for the Finnish round of the World Rallycross Championship.
ABOUT RED BULL GLOBAL RALLYCROSS:
Red Bull Global Rallycross pits small production-based cars against each other in door-to-door racing featuring dirt, asphalt, and table-top jumps. With enhanced engineering and safety features, the cars produce 600 horsepower and can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in less than two seconds, and can also withstand 70-foot jumps and other vehicle contact.
ABOUT OLSBERGS MSE:
Olsbergs MSE designs, builds and operates winning competition cars for motorsport. It is recognized as the global authority in the growing sport of rallycross.
OMSE is a Ford Racing technical partner, developing the Ford Fiesta platform for international competition. Together, Ford and OMSE have earned an astonishing 20 X Games medals, including podium sweeps at the world's leading action sports contest (Los Angeles, 2011; Brazil 2013). The team has also scored every rallycross championship in the United States since the sport debuted in that country in 2010, and its drivers are podium regulars in European competition.
Founded in 2009, the organization represents a partnership between historic Swedish industrial company Olsbergs and rallycross specialists Motor Sport Evolution. In 2013, the company expanded its operations into the United States and now has dual headquarters with operations in both Nynäshamn, Sweden, and Huntington Beach, Calif.
In 2014, OMSE campaigns leading cars in World RX, the Global Rallycross Championship, and the Rallycross Supercar Scandinavia championship.