deJong, Honda Score Podium Finish in New England
· American deJong Claims Sixth Podium Finish For Manufacturer
· Thompson Doubleheader Begins Four Rounds in Two-Week Span
· Oliver Eriksson Wins Heat Race on Saturday
Saturday Broadcast Replay: http://stream.nbcsports.com/nbc/?pid=32843
THOMPSON, Ct. (June 4, 2017) – Mitchell deJong and his No. 24 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic scored their first career Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercar podium result Saturday, after finishing third in a Final defined by a battle of attrition. The 19-year-old Temecula, Calif. native became the manufacturer’s first American rallycross driver to achieve a podium finish.
As Saturday’s competition unfolded, rookie deJong improved on his eighth-place qualifying result, finding speed in the jarring uphill dirt section, which became the focal point of the Honda GRC Civic Coupe’s performance and handling throughout the doubleheader weekend.
Rookie teammate Oliver Eriksson would lead the Honda Racing trio of deJong and Sebastian Eriksson (no relation), claiming a first-round heat victory en route to the Semifinals and the afternoon’s main event.
As deJong and S. Eriksson broke from the rest of the 10-car Final field in second and third places, respectively, the red flag came out after defending Red Bull GRC champion Scott Speed’s car halted in the middle of the course, resulting in a restart of the Final, with the cars in their original starting positions. With significant bodywork damage to the Swedish veteran’s left front Civic Coupe, S. Eriksson started from the back, while deJong remained on the outside of the second row.
On the restart, deJong broke away from the field again, placing himself in second place, behind Tanner Foust and ahead of Speed. Navigating the technical .895-mile circuit for the rest of the 10-lap final, the rookie would hold off Speed, the two-time Red Bull GRC champion, until the final corner of the final lap. deJong ended the race in third, securing the first podium finish of his Supercar career.
Sunday’s second leg of the doubleheader weekend saw deJong finish fourth, 24-year-old veteran S. Eriksson in sixth -- after sustaining heavy damage on the first lap -- and Oliver Eriksson in eighth, following heavy rains which soaked the already difficult course.
Honda is now in third place in the season-long manufacturers’ championship. The Olsbergs MSE Honda team next heads north to Ottawa for the June 17-18 first-ever Red Bull Global Rallycross event in the Canadian capital. Coverage of the doubleheader can be seen live on the NBC Sports Network beginning at 10 p.m. EDT on Saturday and 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday.
Oliver Eriksson (No. 16 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “This was an extremely difficult weekend for the entire team. It felt great coming out and immediately winning on Saturday, but it was tough to deal with some of our mechanical setbacks that occurred. The Red Bull Honda OMSE team did an amazing job for all of us this weekend and I can’t thank them enough for their support. We’ll see what Ottawa has in store for us.”
Mitchell deJong (No. 24 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “It was an incredible weekend. To represent Red Bull and Honda and to come away with my first podium finish in the Red Bull GRC Supercar category is fantastic. We’ve worked so hard all season long and as we move on to Ottawa, I think we have a great opportunity there.”
Sebastian Eriksson (No. 93 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “This is the hardest working crew in rallycross. I want to thank them, first and foremost, because of their dedication all weekend long to the entire team. It was a tough result, but I’m definitely looking forward to Canada!”