Subaru Announces New Driver Lineup for 2017 Factory Red Bull GRC Effort
January 4, 2017 Cherry Hill, N.J.: Subaru Rally Team USA announced today Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) star Patrik Sandell and former Subaru World Rally Team driver Chris Atkinson will spearhead the factory team’s 2017 rallycross efforts. The two drivers will compete in the 2017 Red Bull GRC at the wheel of 2017 Subaru WRX STI GRC Supercar prepared by Subaru technical partner Vermont SportsCar.
“Subaru is very excited to have Patrik and Chris join our factory program,” stated Subaru Motorsports Marketing Manager Rob Weir. “We’re confident they have the proper mix of skill and experience to bring us success in Red Bull GRC.”
Swede Patrik Sandell is one of the Red Bull GRC’s brightest stars and consistently one of the top drivers in the series. Since his GRC debut in 2013, Sandell has claimed 11 podiums and 3 race victories. Before joining Red Bull GRC Sandell was a standout in stage rally where he won the Swedish Junior Rally Championship in 2004, the Swedish N3 Rally Championship in 2005, then the Junior World Rally Championship in 2006. In 2010, he also finished second overall in the S-WRC.
“To finally be a part of the Subaru family is a childhood dream coming true,” said Sandell. “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.”
Joining Sandell will be Australian Chris Atkinson who in late 2016 joined Subaru for four Red Bull GRC rounds. A former Subaru World Rally Team driver, with over 70 WRC starts in his career including 41 WRC stage wins and six podiums, Atkinson had never raced in rallycross before 2016 but seemed right at home in the much more powerful Subaru WRX STI GRC Supercar. In just his third GRC weekend Atkinson earned the pole position at the 2016 GRC Los Angeles, a first for Subaru in the sport.
“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.”
Sandell and Atkinson complete the Subaru Rally Team USA factory driver roster with teammates David Higgins and Travis Pastrana. Sandell and Atkinson will focus on GRC while Higgins and Pastrana will focus on stage rally in the newly formed American Rally Association (ARA). The Subaru program will also make efforts to explore opportunities to enter Higgins or Pastrana in select GRC rounds in 2017.
The team’s 2017 GRC driver lineup was first revealed in the season finale episode of Subaru Launch Control, the award-winning behind the scenes docu-reality web series. The episode, which debuted online today features footage of Patrik Sandell’s first test with Subaru Rally Team USA. Click here to watch Episode 4.14, Aiming North.
Full coverage of Subaru Rally Team USA is available on the Subaru Motorsports App. To download from the iTunes App store, click here, for Android App on Google Play store, click here. Follow the team on Instagram @srtusa and Twitter @srtusa.