Eriksson Leads the Honda Racing Team in Atlantic City
· Sebastian Eriksson Overcomes Heavy Damage to Finish
· Joni Wiman Paces the Honda Racing Team in Preliminary Heats
· Honda Remains in Third Place in the Season-Long Manufacturers’ Championship
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (August 28, 2016) – Olsbergs MSE driver Sebastian Eriksson powered his Honda Civic Coupe to a sixth-place finish at Bader Field in Atlantic City, NJ on Sunday, in the manufacturer’s inaugural season of Red Bull Global Rallycross competition.
Eriksson and his teammates, Joni Wiman and newcomer Kevin Eriksson (no relation), showcased the Civic Coupe’s power and grace while navigating the temporary 10-turn airport circuit near the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.
Saturday’s on-track activity commenced with two 50-minute practice sessions, where the Honda Racing trio gained valuable experience on the 80.3 percent pavement/19.3 percent dirt-composed 1.102-mile circuit. In the evening’s qualification rounds, Wiman finished seventh with Sebastian Eriksson in eighth and Kevin Eriksson in tenth. Despite being scheduled to run the initial round of heats on Saturday evening, track repairs throughout the day required that the heats to be contested on Sunday morning.
In Sunday’s preliminary heats, Wiman paced the Civics with a high finish of third in Heat 1A. Wiman’s poise and car control led to overtakes in the high-braking first corner as he held off several of his fellow competitors in the six-car field.
In the semi-finals, all three drivers suffered contact, forcing them into the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). In the LCQ, Sebastian Eriksson’s No. 93 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic claimed the hole shot and led from start to finish, with Wiman finishing fourth. Kevin Eriksson failed to make the final due to a DNF.
In the eight-lap main event, 12 drivers took to the grid, making it the largest field of the season. From the inside of the third row, Sebastian Eriksson led Wiman into the first corner before Wiman once again suffered contact to his No. 31 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic and was forced to retire from the event.
After the first lap, Eriksson’s damage took a toll on his race pace, but the second-year Supercar driver managed to hold off the rest of the field and finish sixth with the help of the Honda Civic’s durability and reliability.
Honda remains third in the Red Bull GRC manufacturers’ championship heading into the 10th of 12 rounds in the 2016 season, September 17 in Seattle, WA. The event takes place on the grounds of Evergreen Speedway and can be seen live on NBC at 1:30 p.m. ET, with online coverage by Red Bull TV beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Joni Wiman (No. 31 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “It was just a weird final. We had a great car and I felt comfortable with it and I was in the top three during the morning warmup. Unfortunately, we got absolutely hammered from behind and I was forced to retire. That first corner was so tight that unless you were leading at the front, you had a minimal chance of making it through the corner without significant damage. I can’t thank our team enough, though, for working through the night this entire weekend. The Civic is really starting to get dialed in, so when we head to the next couple of technical tracks, I feel confident we will achieve a good result.”
Sebastian Eriksson (No. 93 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “We had a great start going into the first corner and we were up to second place before we got hit from behind. Then, as we went through the dirt and over the jump, I got slammed in the left front side of the car and it damaged my steering. I’m frustrated with the contact and the result, but besides that, the team worked so hard this entire weekend and the Civic was a great machine. It gives us some good data going into Seattle.”
Kevin Eriksson (NO. 96 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “This was my first weekend in Red Bull GRC and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t quite a stereotypical rookie experience, given that I’ve raced in [GRC] Lites and with this team in Europe, but getting the opportunity to drive the Civic was incredible. The car attacks great over the tarmac and through the dirt. I’m excited for the guys and the team as the next race approaches.”