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.