Two-time World Rally champion Marcus Gronholm claimed victory and maximum series points in the opening round of the 2012 Global Rallycross Championship at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend.
The elated Finn, who progressed through the seeding and heat stages with a clean sheet of wins, went into the main event for an eight lap showdown against ten cars - including rival Tanner Foust, who had also progressed to the final with a clean sweep of wins on Friday and Saturday afternoon.
In the final, Foust got the jump on the Finn from the startline, but Gronholm managed to recover the lead and used his joker lap - electing to take the jump - tactically to preserve his advantage. Despite a solid knock from behind, Gronholm led the field home in his Best Buy Mobile Fiesta Mk7 as multiple incidents decimated the field behind him.
“Yes, of course, I'm really pleased for the Best Buy Racing Rallycross Team today, this is what we came here to do,” Gronholm commented. “It was a pretty exciting conclusion to the weekend, as since Friday you have been used to fighting maybe three other cars at a time in the heats, then suddenly there are ten cars on track which really changes everything.
“With so many cars, staying out of trouble is really important and I got a big push from behind at one stage, I dropped quite a bit, but managed to get it all together and it was okay. Right now it is about enjoying the moment, but pretty soon we'll start taking a look at Texas which isn't so long away.”
The Global Rallycross Championship moves to Texas Motor Speedway on Friday 8 June and Saturday 9 June where the event partners the Izod IndyCar Firestone 550, bringing the GRC phenomenon to a new US franchise of motorsport enthusiasts following its warm reception from the NASCAR fraternity at Charlotte.
Looking ahead, Gronholm took a measured approach to the next event: “Yes, we did a good job here, but not everything was perfect and we have some work to do. Just because we did well here, we know that Texas will be completely different and we'll take it one step at a time," he added.
“For now I just want to thank Best Buy Racing and OMSE, it's been a great start to the season.”