Honda Wraps Up Inaugural Red Bull Global Rallycross Season
Honda, Olsbergs MSE Finish the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross Season
· Joni Wiman Captures Fifth-Place Finish for Olsbergs MSE
· All Three Honda Racing Drivers Competed in the Final Race of 2016
· Honda Secures a Third-Place Finish in the Season-Long Manufacturers’ Championship
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (October 9, 2016) – In the final event of the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, Honda and Olsbergs MSE collected another top-five finish with driver Joni Wiman. The result caps off the manufacturer’s first season competing in Red Bull GRC, with a total of five podium results in the turbocharged 2016 Honda Civic Coupe.
Wiman, along with 21-year-old teammate Sebastian Eriksson, delivered nine top-five finishes in 11 events while handling the Rallycross-modified 2016 North American Car of the Year.
In Round One of the Los Angeles doubleheader event, Wiman, Eriksson and new teammate Mitchell DeJong all qualified for the 12-lap final. Wiman ended Friday by qualifying second, placing the 23-year-old Finn on pole in Heat 1B. Wiman then led Saturday morning’s heat from start to finish, navigating first through the .699-mile, nine turn temporary course in the Port of Los Angeles.
In Saturday’s Final, Honda became the first GRC manufacturer to have three drivers race in identical car models, engines and liveries. Newcomer Mitchell DeJong paced the Honda Civic Coupes with an eighth-place finish, while Eriksson finished ninth and Wiman suffered early contact, which kept him from completing the race.
On Sunday, Wiman once again led the Honda Racing trio, finishing third in Heat 1A followed by a win in Semifinal B, the team’s fourth heat victory of the season. Eriksson advanced to the 12-car final with a third-place finish in Semifinal A, while DeJong progressed with a fifth-place result in the Last Chance Qualifier.
In the final, Wiman couldn’t take advantage of his front row starting position, getting sandwiched by two competitors going into the tight and fast Turn One.
While Wiman got shuffled back to fifth, Eriksson and DeJong were fighting their way through the pack – experiencing significant damage – while merely attempting to survive the 12-lap carnage. On the final lap, Wiman battled back and passed Tanner Whitten to secure a fifth-place result, while DeJong completed only nine laps, finishing 11th, and Eriksson failed to finish the race due to significant tire and bodywork damage.
In its first year of competition, the Honda Civic, 2016 North American Car of the Year, captured ten top-five finishes, five podium finishes and finished third in the season-long manufacturers’ championship.
Honda’s entry into Red Bull GRC is the latest in a diverse portfolio of North American professional and grassroots auto-racing programs supported by Honda that includes competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge, F4 United States Championship and multiple Rally car and SCCA series.
Joni Wiman (No. 31 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic) on the season: “For this being the first year of the Honda Civic in Global Rallycross, I am deeply impressed with its raw power and agility. No matter the length or variety of the course, we always had a competitive car, thanks to the entire team and a fantastic Honda Civic.”
Sebastian Eriksson (No. 93 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “We didn’t have the weekend we wanted by any means, but we had a terrific season and I’m so proud of the team. I can’t wait to be back next year. We have an amazing power plant and being able to test more in the offseason will ensure an even better 2017.”
Mitchell DeJong (No. 24 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “I can’t thank Olsbergs MSE and Honda enough for their support this weekend. To even be able to compete in Los Angeles with the team is an honor. I really enjoy Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercars and hope to be back in 2017.”