Best Buy Mobile driver Marcus Gronholm ended the first day of competition in the 2012 Global Rallycross Championship at Charlotte Motor Speedway at the head of the leaderboard ahead of tomorrow’s Main Event.

With start times drawn from a hat, Marcus ran in the penultimate seeding of the day, watching his competitors post times before he took to the track for his qualifying session in the Best Buy Mobile Ford Fiesta Mk7, setting a flying lap time of 41.715s to pip the defending GRC Champion, Tanner Foust, to the top of the Friday table.

The seeding followed an earlier practice session which had resulted in damage to the surface of the Charlotte circuit which is hosting Sunday’s NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup Race. The GRC car trajectories over the 70ft ramp-to-ramp jump were causing damage to the track surface on landing, so organisers re-modelled the GRC circuit wihtout a jump for the seeding session.

After set-up changes to the car to account for the changed profile of the circuit, Marcus set the quickest time but suggested that there was more to come ‘- from both him and the car. “I wasn’t 100% happy this evening, either with my driving or the car. We have a small issue with the downshift which we have to solve, and I clipped the water barrier and caused some damage to the car, but fortunately it was after my fastest lap and we had done enough today.”

Marcus’ Best Buy Mobile Ford Fiesta Mk7 required work to repair a broken right rear sub-frame, but his fastest time gives him the best start position going into tomorrow’s heats, in which he will run against Ken Block, Subaru’s Dave Mirra, the former BMX athlete and Richard Burton (no, not that Richard Burton).

“I was convinced I could take the chicane flat out ‘- but I guess you can’t,” said the rueful Finn.

Drivers progress through the heat stages on Saturday collecting points and advance to the main final, ranked by points score. Organisers will take a decision overnight concerning the reinstatement of the jump.

Tomorrow’s proceedings commence at 1900hrs with the Main Event at 2050hrs EDT.

Standings After Seeding

1 Marcus Gronholm, Best Buy Mobile Ford Fiesta Mk7, 41.715s
2 Tanner Foust, Rockstar Ford Fiesta Mk7,41.802s
3 Brian Deegan, Rockstar Ford Fiesta Mk7, 41.925s
4 Toomas Heikkinen,Ford Fiesta Mk7, 42.491s
5 Ken Block, Ford Fiesta Mk7, 42.573s
6 Sverre Isachsen, Subaru Impreza GR WRX STi, 42.635s
7 Travis Pastrana, Dodge Dart, 42.763s
8 Samuel Hubinette, Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan, 43.011s
9 Rhys Millen,Hyundai Veloster, 43.149s
10 David Binks, Best Buy/Serve Ford Fiesta Mk7, 43.524s
11 Stephan Verdier, Hyundai Veloster, 43.745s
12 Dave Mirra, Subaru Impreza GR WRX STi, 44.297s
13 Bucky Lasek, Subaru Impreza GR WRX STi, 44.325s
14 Tim Rooney, Subaru Impreza GD, 47.167s
15 Pat Moro, Subaru Impreza, 49.943s
16 Richard Burton, Subaru Impreza, 50.785s
17 Andy Scott, Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan, 1.06.773s

Saturday Heats
Heat One

Heat Two

Heat Three

Heat Four

(Two heats with 20 points for the win through to 1 point for 17th & the highest scores go into the Main Final)

Follow Marcus’ crazy chicken, Mabel, who is tweeting clucking for him at : @mgronholmofficial

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