Topi Heikkinen: „The first ever victory is amazing“

Topi Heikkinen took a dominant lights-to-flag victory in the first-ever TitansRX event final in Essay, France, capping off a long year of development for the series and its Pantera RX6 supercar.

Heikkinen, the 2013 Global Rallycross champion, was one of the first names to attach his name to TitansRX and has carried out much of the development work on the series‘ car, but round one of the inaugural season finally gave him an opportunity to race against real competition on an equal footing.

„It feels amazing. I started this project together with Max at the beginning of 2018 – I signed and we did some nice races in the World Championship but the full focus was in Titans and [to get] the first ever victory is amazing,“ he said. „Everything worked out, the car was brilliant, we didn’t have any failures and it was generally a good day for me.“

While Heikkinen won the first qualifying round and faced little in the way of an on-track challenge in the final, the whole day wasn’t an easy ride, with the field having to contend with extreme heat, as well as having to learn TitansRX’s different ruleset.

„The day wasn’t easy, but in the final I saw the yellow car (Kevin Hansen) but then I realised I was building the gap all the time and then I didn’t see them anymore,“ he said. „But it’s so hard to trust the mirrors because you’re not 100 percent certain because you don’t have a spotter in TitansRX so I was still pushing and then in the last lap I realised that there cannot be anyone because I didn’t see anyone in the mirrors so I lifted off a bit and cruised over the finish line, but in general it was a good race.“

TitansRX’s unique race format means that there are effectively two weekends-worth of track action into one weekend, a challenging situation made all the more difficult by the extreme weather conditions faced in France at the moment.

„This double weekend is not so easy, especially in this weather when it’s like 35 degrees outside,“ Heikkinen said. „It’s not easy to keep focused all the time so it’s not easy for the drivers or the mechanics, I thought they did a great job today.“

„I think that we’ve never ever had this kind of weather in rallycross history, this was the warmest and for sure one of the toughest races for the car and the car survived pretty well which I’m pretty happy about.“

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