Victory in the final round of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross season was not enough to ensure Ken Block left Vegas as champion, a second place being all Joni Wiman needed to take back-to-back GRC crowns.
The Finn, who won the 2013 GRC Lites title, took the title by five points, ahead of Block who beat Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr. to second in the points standings.
Block was unstoppable all weekend, winning two heats and a semi final on his way to the main event. The other heat wins were shared by the Andretti pair of Speed and Tanner Foust who both took a brace of victories, Bucky Lasek winning the other semi final.
The last chance qualifier was won by Sverre Isachsen, with Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour also advancing tot he final along with Isachsen. With her fourth place in the LCQ Gilmour made the final for the first time in her career.
Championship contender Nelson Piquet Jr. was set to take to the track in the LCQ too but gearbox issues brought his season to an early close, knocking him out of the championship battle prematurely.
In the final, a daring move from Speed saw him hit Lasek, taking both out and bringing out the red flags. After a delay which saw the track cleared up and repaired.
When the race started again, Block launched off into the lead from his front row starting position. He was followed by Lasek and Speed, Wiman back in fourth - a position not good enough for him to win the championship.
Lasek and Speed fought hard over second and third place, allowing Block to take off and Wiman to close in. Wiman held back with his joker lap and used it perfectly to pass the pair and move up to second.
Wiman began to pull away from Speed and Lasek but he couldn't quite close the gap on Block. That wasn't to matter though with second place being enough to clinch the title in his début season in the Supercar class. Lasek was to finish third, ahead of Speed.
"I don’t believe it—it’s just amazing. I haven’t realized it yet. It’s like a dream come true." Said Wiman after the race.
"The first start before the red flag was my best one—actually, everything looked clear after the second corner. I was maybe third out of the first corner in the restart, and we just were pushing for it." He added, "I fell down to fourth when Scott (Speed) took the joker, but then they started to have a small fight, so I decided to take the joker. I think it was pretty tight, but I’m happy it was enough."
With his perfect weekend, Block took his second win of the season, his third of his career and his second consecutive Vegas win.
"Every time, coming here and needing a good finish to have a good overall season result has just put the pressure on me." He said. "The thing was, there was no other result for me here—I had to win everything I could."
"The team and I worked hard to make that happen, but unfortunately I won the battle and lost the war by one position. It is what it is, but it really disappointed me because it goes back to Seattle. I should have won that event, and I threw that away with a tiny mistake. I’m happy to have won, but disappointed at the same time—but that’s racing."
Images: Garth Milan, Larry Chen, Red Bull Content Pool, Red Bull GRC