LOUDON, N.H. – Toomas Heikkenen used a thrilling last-lap, final-corner pass of Tanner Foust to win Thursday’s Global Rallycross Championship event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and take the lead in the $20,000 battle for the SYLVANIA SilverStar zXe Cup.
Foust took the lead at the start but Heikkenen and fellow Finnish countryman Patrik Sandell kept in close pursuit in the opening round of the four-race chase for the SYLVANIA SilverStar zXe Cup. Heikkenen moved around Sandell and into second on the last lap and chased Foust hard into the final elevated hairpin turn leading to the finish line. Foust locked up the brakes and slid sideways going into the hairpin, going hard into the outside barrier of the turn, allowing Heikkenen to ease to the victory ahead of Sandell and third-placed Brian Deegan.
Heikkenen’s victory, along with the bonus point earned by winning one of the day’s heat races, gives him a four-point lead in the SYLVANIA SilverStar zXe Cup standings over Sandell while Deegan will head to next week’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway just six points out of the lead. Foust and Ken Block also won heat races before the final, and ended up fourth and fifth respectively.
“I come over to America for close racing, but to be in an event like this and have a prize like the SYLVANIA SilverStar zXe Cup is very exciting too,” said Heikkenen. “It was a tough day with tricky conditions but we had a great race and put on a great show for the fans.”
SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting has provided extra incentive for drivers competing in domestic GRC events in 2013 with the inception of the $20,000 battle for the SYLVANIA SilverStar zXe Cup. New to the GRC series in 2013, the SYLVANIA SilverStar zXe Cup will go to the driver that earns the most championship points in four of the series’ U.S.-based events this season.
“We had a great start to the SYLVANIA SilverStar zXe Cup with great action and a very exciting race that went down to the last lap,” said Joe Verbanic, marketing manager, SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting. “Today was exactly the kind of action we expected to see when we started the SYLVANIA SilverStar zXe Cup and we are looking forward to seeing these great drivers continue the fight next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.”