Patrik Sandell: Season Review

(November 29) – Swedish driver Patrik Sandell continued his existing relationship with Subaru Rally Team USA to compete in the inaugural Americas Rallycross (ARX) season, and got his campaign off to a strong start by setting the second quickest time in the first Practice session of the year, at Speedmachine Festival in the U.K.

Starting on pole position for Q1 in the first ever round of ARX, the Subaru WRX STI stopped with two laps to run and Sandell didn’t get a time. He battled back with a pair of third-fastest times in Q2 and Q3 and was fourth in Q4 to climb back up the Intermediate Classification, before third in semifinal one ensured a starting position for the final. But, unfortunate contact early in the race with teammate David Higgins cost time, and Sandell only just missed out on a first podium, in fourth place.

At DirtFish ARX of Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, Sandell used the first corner joker lap at almost every start. He was fourth in Q1, Q2 and Q3, before a third time in Q4 preceded a second place finish in his semifinal to Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Tanner Foust.

Starting on the second row of the grid in the final he straight away took the joker lap behind Foust on lap one of the final and ended up fifth, sandwiched between Subaru teammates Travis Pastrana and Chris Atkinson.

As ARX headed North to the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, the circuit closest to Vermont Sports Car’s headquarters, Sandell was again always inside the top five in qualifying, apart from in Q2 when hit Foust’s Beetle following the VARX driver’s contact with Ken Block. Second to Block in the second semifinal put Sandell through to the final, where he used a mid race joker lap to hold track position and the former WRC driver finished fourth for the second time in the season.

Sandell’s consistency meant he climbed to third in the points behind the leading Volkswagen pair of Scott Speed and Foust, entering the final round at COTA in September. The opening day brought a pair of sixth fastest times in the season finale, but a pair of third times in Q3 and Q4 lifted him up to sixth in the Intermediate Classification. Third in the second semifinal maintained his 100% record of making it through to the final, where he finished fifth, chasing teammate Toomas Heikkinen right to the finish line.

The experienced Swede achieved his target of maintaining his third place in the drivers’ points and has already re-signed with Subaru for ARX 2019.


Tiernay Oliver