Photo: Subaru

Red Bull GRC: Sandell switches to Subaru for 2017

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Patrik Sandell will make a big career shift in next season’s Red Bull Global Rallycross, with a switch to the factory Subaru team.

The Swede has been one of Red Bull GRC’s top drivers for several seasons. In his last two years with Bryan Herta Rallysport in a Ford Fiesta ST, he finished eighth (2015) and fifth (2016) in the championship, winning one main event final in each season. His win in Dallas earlier this year was one of the season highlights.

Subaru Rally Team USA grew in competitiveness as the year went on with development of the Subaru WRX-STi and a midseason driver switch from Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek to Chris Atkinson and David Higgins.

“Atko” will be back alongside Sandell next year for his first full Red Bull GRC season, to provide Subaru a strong lineup.

“To finally be a part of the Subaru family is a childhood dream coming true,” Sandell said. “I was watching Subaru cars rallying all over the world as a kid, and I am now very proud to be in those same shoes. Subaru have been able to create a unique passion around its’ brand and cars that I really like, as I am so passionate about both rally and rallycross myself. I am really looking forward to meeting all the Subaru fans out there that share my passion for the sport. It feels like this is where I belong.”

“I enjoyed my first taste of rallycross last year with the team, and it’s clear to see the potential both the team and the car have,” explains Atkinson. “I’m excited to come on board full-time with the squad, and I can’t wait to get started. The guys are working so hard in Vermont in the off-season now to really give Patrik and I something very special to drive in 2017.”

Higgins and Travis Pastrana may enter selected Red Bull GRC rounds, while focusing primarily on the new American Rally Association (ARA).

Red Bull GRC is yet to release its 2017 schedule, but the season has started in mid-to-late May (Fort Lauderdale, 2015 and Phoenix, 2016) the last two seasons. The series runs its races on NBC and NBCSN.

It’s doubtful there will be much other driver movement among the other teams while Herta’s team will need to replace the speedy Swede.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)