Taking the top titles at Sunday’s U.S. RallyCross were a Saab and a Ford station wagon. No, your eyes do not deceive you!
(Photo courtesy of RallyAmerica)
19 year old Finnish driver, Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen, took the honors in the AWD A Main race at the last U.S. RallyCross championship event of the year in Millville, NJ. Heikkinen piloted an Eklund Motorsport-sponsored 600 hp 2010 Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan to victory over the increasingly European competition, which included the 2009 and 2010 FIA European Rallycross champion, Sverre Isachsen of Norway.
Note to Saab enthusiasts – Heikkinen drives for the team of renowned Swedish rally and rallycross champion, Per Eklund – a man who has driven many hockey stick Swedes to victory, from 96 V4s to 9-3 Viggens, over the past four decades. In fact, Eklund himself had been planning to compete, but fortuitously, it appears, Heikkinen took his place.
Following in second place in AWD A Main was American Tanner Foust in his Rockstar Ford Fiesta, with British Rallycrosser Liam Doran taking third in his 550 hp Citroen C4. Foust was the AWD winner of U.S. RallyCross events #1 and #2.
Video of the AWD A Main Action
Quite stupendously, the winner of 2WD A Main, Matthew Johnson, a U.S. rally champ and a competitor in the 2008 and 2009 X Games, triumphed in an extremely modified 1978 Ford Fairmont station wagon. Johnson, the 2WD winner at the last U.S. RallyCross, bested Josh Wimpey, who came in second place in his VW GTI. Wyatt Knox finished in third behind the wheel of a MazdaSpeed 3.
I have to admit, I am a bit struck by the news – in a good way. As some of you may have realized, I have a fondness for Swedish cars, and it just isn’t often that I see Saabs competing in professional motorsports. I hope this is a sign of more to come, and that Per Eklund’s European rallycross experience will bring him success and deserved popularity among the growing number of fans of the sport on this side of the pond.
Matthew Johnson burning rubber for the fans on Sunday in his Ford Fairmont (Photo courtesy of Sam Feinstein)
As for the Fairmont, that car is a total hoot. I had a boyfriend way back in high school who drove an abused Fairmont wagon, and from my memories of that car, I just can’t picture anyone winning a rallycross with it. I remember a desperate attempt to jump the Fairmont, which ended up turning the neighborhood into a scrap yard.
But clearly these are two extremely different cars as Johnson was definitely not driving an ordinary grocery getter. The rallycross Fairmont is an insanely modified 1985 Ford LTD wagon with a Fairmont nose and a 347 cubic inch V8. According to Dave Blum, its owner and creator, the Ford is street legal but was “built to annoy Porsches and BMWs at open track events and NASA’s American Iron series.” The details of his car’s build can be found here.
Below is a video from the 2nd U.S. RallyCross event where you can see the Ford fiend in action and hear commentary from Matthew Johnson himself.
AWD A Main:
1. Toomas Heikkinen (SAAB 93 Aero Sport Sedan) 3:15.5
2. Tanner Foust (Ford Fiesta) 3:17.2
3. Liam Doran (Citroen C4) 3:19.2
4. Travis Pastrana (Subaru Impreza STi) 3:22.4
5. Rhys Millen (Hyundai Accent) 3:25.8
6. Dave Mirra (Subaru Impreza STi) 3:27.2
DNF – Jussi Pinomaki (Ford Fiesta)
2WD A Main:
1. Matthew Johnson (Ford Fairmont) 3:53.1
2. Josh Wimpey (Volkswagen GTI) 3:54.2
3. Wyatt Knox (Mazda Speed 3) 3:59.3
4. Jordan Guitar (Honda Civic Si) 4:07.3
5. John Tancredi (Mazda MX5) 4:12.2
DNF – John Hall (Nissan 240SX)