PR: Oliver Eriksson Captures Career-Best Result in Red Bull GRC Indianapolis
Oliver Eriksson and his No. 16 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic endured contact and opposing late-race strategy in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Indianapolis Final to finish fourth, a career best for the 18-year-old rookie. Teammate Sebastian Eriksson finished closely behind in sixth place.
The Eriksson teammates pushed their 600-horsepower Honda Civic Coupes to a new level, going door-to-door, four-wide with the field and sliding sideways through the first two corners before straightening out into the technical infield section of the .767-mile circuit at Lucas Oil Raceway. O. Eriksson slid into fourth behind series veteran Steve Arpin, attacking the veteran’s rear fender.
The Swedish rookie, battling flat-spotted tires and bodywork damage from the start, recorded aggressive and consistent lap times before taking the Joker Lap on Lap 3, using an aggressive strategy in order to close the gap on the top three competitors.
On Lap 6, O. Eriksson drew the margin to Arpin to within one second, eyeing his first-career podium finish in Red Bull GRC Supercars. But going into Turn 2, Oliver made contact with the outside wall, creating handling issues for the rest of the race. The rookie held on and brought home a career-best, fourth-place finish.
His 24-year-old elder teammate, S. Eriksson, followed the rookie in sixth and completed a clean race, gathering valuable championship points. Unfortunately, Mitchell deJong’s podium streak ended due to a mechanical issue prior to the six-lap Semifinal. Per the Red Bull Global Rallycross rulebook, a competitor that does not start a Semifinal heat cannot participate in the Final.
Despite the adversity of the weekend, deJong maintains his fourth-place position in the championship and leads the rookie point standings, with O. Eriksson right behind. After the completion of Round Seven, Honda remains in second place in the season-long manufacturers’ championship and claims its 21st top-five finish in Red Bull GRC series history.
The eighth and ninth round of the 2017 Red Bull GRC championship return to Bader Field in Atlantic City, NJ on August 11-13. Coverage begins on NBC on Saturday, August 12 at 5 p.m. ET and at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 13.
Oliver Eriksson (No. 16 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic) recapping his career-best finish of fourth: “We had a good run and we had a good pace in the semifinals, so we knew we could compete for a podium finish. We started in the middle of the second row so we knew we face carnage from other competitors. Into the first corner I got hit, but I had a big save there. I was in fifth gear, four-wide but I managed to save it. Unfortunately, I think I burnt my tires which caused my understeer. It was a tough weekend but we persevered.”
Sebastian Eriksson (No. 93 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “It was a tough race because we lost it in the Semifinal. [Starting ninth] on the third row is not where you want to be in a ten-car final. I think we did an okay job from where we started. Obviously, we need to qualify better next time and have a better grid position into the Final.”
Mitchell deJong (No. 24 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “It was a very difficult weekend; a lot of ups and downs. I think we had good pace at certain times and other times we had some drama with contact. A small mechanical issue caused us from not making the Semifinal and then not making the final by way of not starting a semi[final] was tough. It’s unfortunate, but things like that happen, so we just need to move on and move forward.”