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Toomas Heikkinen wins X Games RallyCross SuperCar event

The Finnish racer claims the last X Games gold medal to be given out in Los Angeles for at least the next four years.

August 04, 2013|By Andrew Gastelum
  • Toomas Heikkinen of Finland celebrates after winning gold in the X Games RallyCross SuperCar final at Irwindale Event Center on Sunday.
Toomas Heikkinen of Finland celebrates after winning gold in the X Games… (Christina House / For The…)

The curtain closed on Los Angeles' 11-year X Games run with the Ford RallyCross SuperCar event at the Irwindale Events Center, however dusty, loud and chaotic it might have been.

Toomas Heikkinen took the last gold medal to be presented in Los Angeles for at least the next four years with a superbly maneuvered 10-lap run to win his fourth consecutive Global RallyCross event and become the first two-time X Games gold medalist in RallyCross history.

"There's no secret," Heikkinen said. "Sometimes you get the good start, but if you want to win you have to make a push for it."

The chaotic part of the afternoon came into play on the first lap in the RallyCross final when a hectic pileup trapped four of the 10 drivers' cars and sent debris flying across the track.

But Heikkinen somehow emerged from the dust unscathed despite being right in the middle of the wreck and proceeded to build a comfortable lead, repeating his gold-medal performance in Munich.

"That was a huge break for us," the 22-year-old Finland native said.

After the wreck, Heikkinen cruised through the remaining nine laps to finish four seconds ahead of silver medalist Tanner Foust, Saturday night's gymkhana gold medalist.

"I tried to make a move wherever I could, and then I just saw tires and smoke everywhere," Foust said of the pileup.

Sverre Isachsen salvaged a bronze medal despite serving a penalty for jumping the start.

Meanwhile, four-time RallyCross medalist Travis Pastrana finished fifth just 15 hours after returning from a Nationwide Series event in Iowa, where he finished 27th.

Wiman breezes by in RallyCross lites

The inaugural RallyCross lites event, which includes lighter, faster cars, served as the opening act to the RallyCross SuperCar. But Joni Wiman kept the suspense to a minimum, taking the lead from the start to take the gold.

"The plan was to get a good jump on the opening lap and then make up any difference afterwards," Wiman said.

The Finnish driver jumped ahead and never looked back, winning by nearly five seconds over Mitchell DeJong, a 15-year-old who took the silver ahead of Sebastian Eriksson.

Eriksson had to battle Alexander Westlund for the bronze before Westlund's front left tire cut sideways on the final lap to let Eriksson cruise into the final spot on the podium.

Wiman said next year he hopes to make an even bigger jump.

"Everything that's happened here is great. I'm happy," Wiman said. "But I hope to do it in the SuperCar next year."

Sanz, Blazusiak take enduro X gold

Laia Sanz continued her dominance in 2013 by winning her third gold medal in four enduro X appearances. The Barcelona native avenged her runner-up finish to Maria Forsberg at Munich with some flair, winning the final at Staples Center by 37 seconds.

The racing event tests motocross riders on an all-terrain obstacle course that featured mud, rock and log portions.

In the men's enduro X, Poland's Taddy Blazusiak repeated his gold-medal performance at X Games Foz Do Iguacu, Brazil, by edging 2012 X Games winner Mike Brown by more than three seconds.

andrew.gastelum@latimes.com

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