American deJong Finishes with Double-Podium Results for Honda, Olsbergs MSE
6/19/2017 5:08:00 PM
• Rookie deJong Claims His Third Podium Finish of 2017
• Honda Racing Goes 3-4-5 in Round 6 Final; First All Top-Five Finish For Trio
• Manufacturer Championship Within Sights, Four Points Back From First
Broadcast replays are available here: http://www.nbcsports.com/live#full-event-replays
OTTAWA, Ontario – Olsbergs MSE (OMSE) and Mitchell deJong ended the second doubleheader weekend of the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season with double-podium finishes, collecting two third-place results at the Canada Air and Space Museum. Teammates Sebastian and Oliver Eriksson (no relation) finished Sunday's Final in fourth and fifth-place, respectively, collecting the Honda Racing trio's first top-five all-manufacturer finish.
The 19-year-old American started on the outside of the front row in Sunday's main event after finishing second in Semifinal A, leading the team on the starting grid and into the first corners at the start of the 10-car, 10-lap race. After the start was red-flagged due to a competitor rolling his vehicle in the middle of the .762-mile circuit, the entire Red Bull GRC Supercar field would restart from its original grid positions.
deJong would survive heavy contact to the front bumper and hood of his Honda GRC Civic Coupe, which hindered the aerodynamic performance of his 600-horsepower, custom-built rally car. But despite the damage, the rookie would hold off two-time series champion Scott Speed for most of the final. The Temecula, Calif.-native would wait to take the Joker Lap, fending off Speed for the final podium position, lap after lap. On the final lap, both drivers took the Joker, but deJong's final-turn exit allowed Speed to pass him just 50 feet from the finish line.
Sebastian Eriksson completed the race closely behind deJong, posting formidable lap times en route to a fourth-place result. Oliver Eriksson, an 18-year-old rookie, would bring home his first career top-five finish in the Red Bull GRC Supercar category, taking fifth place.
In Saturday's Finale, deJong powered his custom-built, four-wheel drive Civic to the front of the 10-car field. O. Eriksson followed closely behind, and was in the hunt for the final podium spot before heavy gravel punctured his power steering intake, relegating him to the rear of the field. Meanwhile, deJong's poise and aggression from start to finish would reward the rookie with another third-place finish.
The doubleheader weekend was highlighted by victories in Heat 1A for veteran Sebastian Eriksson and a first-round heat victory on Saturday for Oliver Eriksson, giving Honda its fifth heat win of the season. Honda is now four points out of first-place in the season-long manufacturer's championship standings, as the series heads to Indianapolis, IN. in three weeks.
Live television coverage from Lucas Oil Raceway Park begins on Saturday, July 8 with Red Bull GRC Qualifications on the NBC Sports Network beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. Sunday's main event will also be featured on NBCSN, immediately following the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway at 8 p.m. ET.
Mitchell deJong (No. 24 Red Bull Honda OMSE Civic) on Sunday's performance in the Finals and this weekend's double-podium result: "We had a good start and I had Scott [Speed] behind me, and I knew he was going to be fast. I was trying to not make mistakes and run clean because it's very hard to pass on this track. I wanted to maintain clean lines throughout the course to hold him off, but he got me in the last corner like at Thompson [in the Red Bull GRC New England, two weeks ago]. I'm a bit disappointed in that, but I did my best and I can't thank the whole team enough for its efforts this weekend, along with Honda and Red Bull."
Sebastian Eriksson (No. 93 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): "Personally, I didn't have my best doubleheader weekend performance, but I think this result [Sunday's Final] shows that we can be consistent as a team and have the pace to fight for more wins. The team did an amazing job all weekend-long, allowing us to compete in almost every heat for consistent results, no matter the condition of the car."
Oliver Eriksson (No. 16 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): "Finishing the Final without any major issues felt good. This season, my races in the Finals have ended with issues or contact, so to go out, grab a top-five finish and for us to finish third, fourth and fifth, I think, is another stepping stone to bigger and better results in the future. The team has worked incredibly long hours to find pace and it's paying off, race by race."
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