Red Bull GRC: Isachsen reigns in Seattle; Wiman becomes new championship leader

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For the second time in as many weekends, the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship took a drastic turn.

Sverre Isachsen brought home the first-ever GRC victory for Subaru Rally Team USA in yesterday’s Round 9 at DirtFish Rally School outside Seattle.

But by virtue of his own second-place finish behind the Norwegian, Joni Wiman moved into the championship lead going into the Nov. 5 season finale in Las Vegas (NBC will air the race on Nov. 16 at 1:30 p.m. ET).

Ken Block entered Seattle with an 18-point lead over Wiman, but the King of the Hoonigans hit a barrier in the first turn and subsequently finished a disappointing ninth.

Wiman settled into fourth position by halfway, but was then able to move into podium position and peeled second off of Brian Deegan late. With his third consecutive podium run, the Finn is now threatening to win the GRC’s “SuperCar” championship one year after claiming the Lites title.

“I didn’t think I would do well at the dirt track,” Wiman told RedBull.com. “Looking forward to Vegas as the track actually suits us better. It’s all about Vegas now.”

As for Block, he pointed the finger of blame at himself for his trouble in the final.

“Looking straight into the sun, I just missed the braking point,” he said. “I went wide while turning into the joker, and bounced into the wall.”

Meanwhile, Isachsen was thrilled to give the Subaru camp its historic first win in GRC competition.

“It is really important for the team,” Isachsen said to the GRC website. “We never gave up on developing this car—it takes time. You do something wrong, but then you do something right, and then of course today we had a fast car.

“It’s huge for everybody, all the Subaru guys.”

Things had looked set for a clash in the final between Wiman and Block after both of them won their respective semifinal heats. In Semifinal One, Block led Nelson Piquet Jr. and Deegan across the stripe, while Wiman took Semifinal Two over Isachsen and Patrik Sandell.

That set up the Last Chance Qualifier, which featured both Scott Speed and Rhys Millen, the two race winners from last weekend’s doubleheader in Los Angeles.

Speed’s teammate at Andretti Autosport, Tanner Foust, was able to race into the lead early and eventually got the LCQ checkered flag with David Higgins, Millen, and Speed joining him in the final.

The GRC Lites class also crowned its champion this weekend at DirtFish, as Olsbergs MSE’s Mitchell DeJong locked up the title simply by starting the event.

But DeJong was not content to take it easy. The American went on to earn his sixth Lites win of 2014 over Austin Cindric and Alejandro Fernandez after going fastest in qualifying and winning both of his preliminary heats.