Hightstown, NJ — After a second-place finish in last week’s World Driving Championship, U.S. representative Yannick Gingras was left to wonder “what if.” But there was no doubt in his mind about the competition, held at five racetracks across Sweden, and the opportunity to participate.
“It was a blast,” said Gingras, a two-time Driver of the Year in the U.S. who was making his first appearance in the World Driving Championship. “It was a great experience. I knew I would have fun, that wasn’t a question. The question was more about adapting to racing there and learning their system, and I think it was mission accomplished.”
Gingras had raced in Sweden previously, but only at Solvalla Raceway. The initial two rounds of the WDC, a total of four races, were at Solvalla before the competition visited four other tracks for the remaining 20 races.
“It was nice to see all of them,” Gingras said. “They were all really nice tracks.”
Gingras won three races in the WDC and also had three second-place finishes and three thirds. He won the event’s final race, but it was not enough to overtake The Netherlands’ Rick Ebbinge for the title.
Ebbinge collected 199.5 points in the competition, followed by Gingras with 193.5 and Sweden’s Ulf Ohlsson with 191.5. Canada’s Doug McNair and Norway’s Eirik Hoitomt rounded out the top five, which was separated by a total of 12.5 points.
“I couldn’t win (the championship) going into the last race, so finishing second was actually a home run for me,” Gingras said. “Of course, I’m a little disappointed because you start looking back at the competition and you wonder what might have happened if you’d done things differently in some of the races. On the other hand, I won with long shots that maybe other drivers are thinking the same thing too; that if they had done something different, they could have beat me.
“I think the competition was really good. It was a great group of guys. We were there to compete, but I made good friendships. All of the guys were really nice guys. Racing wise, I think people were impressed. We didn’t do anything crazy, but there was good action throughout all the races. I think people enjoyed it.”
Drivers from the U.S. have finished in the top three at the WDC in four of the last five editions. In addition to Gingras in 2019, Marcus Miller was third in 2017, Tim Tetrick third in 2015, and Corey Callahan second in 2011. Dave Magee was the most recent U.S. representative to win the championship, in 1995.
The World Driving Championship began in 1970 and is now held every two years. The final 2019 WDC standings appear below.
1. Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) – 199.5 points
2. Yannick Gingras (USA) – 193.5
3. Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) – 191.5
4. Doug McNair (Canada) – 189.5
5. Eirik Hoitomt (Norway) – 187
6. Matthew Williamson (New Zealand) – 181.5
7. Mika Forss (Finland) – 177
8. Franck Nivard (France) – 162
9. James MacDonald (Canada/ITA) – 154
10. Michael Nimczyk (Germany) – 151.5
11. Rodney Gatt (Malta) – 142
12. Todd McCarthy (Australia) – 136