deJong Top Red Bull GRC Newcomer
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (October 15, 2017) – In the final event of the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, Olsbergs MSE’s (OMSE) Mitchell deJong cemented his status as the most successful rookie in Red Bull GRC Supercars, piloting the No. 24 Red Bull Honda OMSE Civic.
His fifth-place finish in the championship was accomplished with consistent results, as deJong secured six top-five finishes in the season’s first six events, including three podium performances. The Temecula, Calif.-native would end the season with eight top-five finishes in 12 events.
The 24-year-old Swedish veteran Sebastian Eriksson achieved many highlights during the 2017 season, including Honda’s first victory in Red Bull GRC competition in Louisville in May. Since that victory, Eriksson claimed three top-five finishes, including a second-place in Atlantic City, and finished closely behind 2017 series champion, Scott Speed.
Meanwhile, 18-year-old rookie teammate Oliver Eriksson (no relation) finished the inaugural Global Rallycross season with his 600-horsepower Honda GRC Civic Coupe sixth in the drivers’ championship, after being forced to retire from the 10-lap final in Los Angeles due to extensive bodywork and mechanical damage. Despite the disappointing finish, Eriksson’s four top-five finishes this season tabbed the Swedish rookie as a rising star in the sport of rallycross.
Saturday’s racing at the Port of Los Angeles was intense and featured some of the closest and grueling heats of the season. Highlighted by S. Eriksson’s second-place finish in Heat 1A, the Civic Coupes were tested throughout the preliminary rounds, in preparation for the 10-car final in the afternoon.
In the final, S. Eriksson started on the outside of Row Two, with deJong on the inside of Row Three, alongside Oliver Eriksson. With a decent start, the 24-year-old S. Eriksson made his way up to fifth before getting bumped off the racing line by Steve Arpin in Turn Five. He would settle into sixth after taking the Joker Lap on Lap 2, going off strategy in hopes of capitalizing later in the race.
It was a tough day for O. Eriksson, whose final would come to an end after just three laps, due to significant bodywork and mechanical damage from competitors. As a result, Honda’s hopes would come down to Mitchell deJong and Sebastian Eriksson competing for sixth around the .654-mile circuit. After the eight-lap battle, deJong would prevail in sixth and Eriksson would end the race in seventh.
Honda concluded its second season of Red Bull GRC competition with a second-place finish in the manufacturers’ championship, edging Subaru. The manufacturer tallied nine heat wins, 16 top-five finishes, five podiums and a victory.
Sebastian Eriksson (No. 93 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic) on concluding his second season with Honda: “To represent Honda this year was amazing. It’s my second year competing on behalf of the manufacturer. We scored some podiums and winning in Louisville was amazing. We developed a lot from where we started last year. I want to thank them for their support, along with Red Bull, Bluebeam, Motegi, Bell Helmets and Global Rallycross for their support and commitment to the sport of rallycross.”
Mitchell deJong (No. 24 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “It feels amazing to represent the Honda brand. You see them all over the world of motorsport, so to be a part of that program is very special. Also, to secure the Rookie of the Year title is amazing, and to do it in my home town, in front of my family and friends means so much to me. Big thanks to Red Bull and the entire OMSE team for their continued support and hard work.”
Oliver Eriksson (No. 16 Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic): “The DNF [Saturday] was not the ideal way to end the season, but we finished sixth in the championship, which is good considering the adversity we had to overcome throughout the year. Huge thanks to Red Bull, Honda, Bluebeam and my awesome team, Olsbergs MSE, for believing in youngsters like me and giving me this opportunity to learn and show what I can do!”