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Finnish driver Toomas "Topi" Heikkinen claimed his fifth straight Global Rallycross Championship win on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, holding off Tanner Foust and Sverre Isachsen for the top spot.
"Tanner fought me the whole race," Heikkinen said of his closest competitor in the overall points race for the 2013 GRC title, noting that he's taking it "step by step, race by race" but that the overall title is the goal he set out for at the beginning of the year. "It means a lot for me," he said. "That's why I'm working here. That's why I'm here."
The final saw a black flag penalty for Scott Speed for the contact that pushed Dave Mirra out of the race in the first turn, a bad start for Ken Block -- who rolled his car during practice earlier in the day but still competed -- and Brian Deegan, who stalled out in the seventh of 10 laps. But Heikkinen got the early lead and has proven he can be hard to catch after the first turn.
"The first turn was insane, right?" Foust said after the race. "It was like a Hail Mary on the outside; back bumper scraping the plastic barriers there. I knew I wasn't going to get Topi in the first corner but I can't believe I popped out of it in second place. There was so much chaos."
Foust stayed within two seconds of Heikkinen's bumper for much of the rest of race, but he lost his front left tire in the final lap, holding on for second place at 7.254 seconds behind the leader.
"Three laps from the finish, I think I caught something weird on the takeoff on the jump," Foust said. "I felt it and it just started turning less and less, and then it was a nightmare ... It was a good battle but once the flat tire came off I'm just lucky to be in second really. I'll take second place. Topi extends his lead a little bit but they're really good points."
Heikkinen, who won X Games gold in both Los Angeles and Munich and was the only driver to medal in all four X Games RallyCross races this year, now has a nearly unassailable lead for the 2013 GRC overall title. Heikkinen also won the 2013 GRC events in Loudon, N.H., and Bristol, Tenn.