Ken Block may have been the fastest driver in Global Rallycross Championship seeding yesterday, but the moment was overshadowed by the second major accident in two days for an Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta.
This time, the incident involved GRC points leader and two-time WRC champion Marcus Gronholm, who was knocked unconscious when his car hit a light pole after landing the Mega Ramp. Reportedly, the suspension on the car broke, causing Gronholm’s car to miss its intended line; the incident left him unconscious, and he spent the night in a nearby hospital, thankfully awake and alert. (Apologies for the low-quality video of the crash; it’s all that is currently available.)
Of the rest of the field, only defending Super Rally gold medalist Liam Doran pulled out of practice for safety reasons. Doran will race today, while Gronholm will be examined before today’s events.
One driver will still be out of today’s event, however: Toomas Heikkinen, whose Friday accident on the Mega Ramp led to an enclosure of the gap, turning it into a large tabletop. Heikkinen’s spot in the event has been taken by David Higgins, who will join the Subaru Puma Rallycross Team for his first event of the GRC season.
Higgins is the only Subaru driver to compete full-time in Rally America this year, where he has a commanding lead in the championship. He will drive the car that Bucky Lasek raced at both Charlotte and Texas, while Lasek will drive a brand new Impreza in today’s events. (For those following, Lasek also scored a silver medal last night in the Skateboard Vert finals.)
The series has not released seeding as of right now, but here are some of the earlier practice times listed. Keep in mind that both Travis Pastrana and Brian Deegan have claimed faster times than these in qualifying. These times come from a photo posted by Block, and if anything, are at least a representation of how fast we should expect the cars to navigate the short course today:
- Ken Block, #43 Ford, 40.404 seconds
- Marcus Gronholm, #3 Ford, 40.810
- Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, 40.951
- Sebastien Loeb, #72 Citroen, 41.081
- Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai, 41.093
- David Binks, #17 Ford, 41.665
- Travis Pastrana, #199 Dodge, 41.729
- Andy Scott, #26 Saab, 41.825
- Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, 41.974
- Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, 42.246
- Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, 42.253
UPDATE: We now have today’s seeding. Note that Marcus Gronholm and Toomas Heikkinen will both officially miss today’s events:
- Group 1: (1) Ken Block, #43 Ford; (8) Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab; (9) Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru; (16) Liam Doran, #33 Citroen
- Group 2: (4) Sebastien Loeb, #72 Citroen; (5) Tanner Foust, #34 Ford; (12) Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru; (13) Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai
- Group 3: (3) Brian Deegan, #38 Ford; (6) Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai; (11) Bryce Menzies, #99 Dodge; (14) Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru
- Group 4: (2) Travis Pastrana, #199 Dodge; (7) Andy Scott, #26 Saab; (10) David Binks, #17 Ford; (15) David Higgins, #75 Subaru
- Chris Leone