Subaru Guest Drivers: Season Review
(December 5) - Swedish star Patrik Sandell and Australian Chris Atkinson occupied two of the three Subaru Rally Team USA seats full time in the inaugural Americas Rallycross (ARX) season, but the third Subaru WRX STI was shared by a different driver at every event.
In round one at Silverstone, UK, with the first ever ARX event held as part of the Speedmachine Festival, Subaru USA’s rally star David Higgins raced in his home round and was fourth quickest in the first ever qualifier. He ended up sixth in the Intermediate Classification, took third in semi-final two to make the final but was denied a dream home result by an unfortunate spin and contact with team mate Sandell early in the race.
The car was taken over by X Games legend Travis Pastrana for round two at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Getting re-accustomed to a rallycross Supercar, Pastrana had a consistent run through qualifying in the intense heat and was fourth after Q4. He finished third in semifinal one, then climbed up second in the final until taking his joker on the final lap and finished as top Subaru driver in fourth.
Former Indianapolis 500 winner and Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve made his return to rallycross for his home round at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, but only had time for a short test in the lead up to his ARX debut. He retired from his Q2 race with mechanical problems and then challenged in the semifinals, only to be stopped by another niggling problem, after taking his joker lap from third position.
For the last race of the season at COTA in September, rallycross champion and World RX race winner Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen, from Finland, joined the Vermont Sports Car team and immediately showed his intent with third in Q2. The Finnish star made the final on the third row and took his joker on the first lap. By the end of the race he was on the rear fender of Loenbro Hoonigan’s Steve Arpin in a battle for a first ARX podium, but Heikkinen finished fourth, ahead of team mate Sandell in fifth.