Subaru Rally team USA has announced that Patrik Sandell will drive for the team for 2017.
The shock announcement will see the three-time race winner join Chris Atkinson at the team. The Australian returns for a full season after making his début in the second half of last year.
“I’ve been following Subaru from outside [for] the last four seasons and the passion that they have shown in the paddock in GRC is something special and I want to be a part of this passion and I’m sure that I can add something to this team so we can end up on top of the podium,” said Sandell. “I’ve been able to fight for the top in more or less every race and I’m very excited to keep on doing that now, but in a Subaru.”
Rob Weir, motorsport marketing manager Subaru of America, added: “We brought along Patrik Sandell to Subaru Rally Team USA, we’re super excited to have him onboard.”
“He’s a known entity against us on the track and having him onboard with us is going to be a huge advantage we think for 2017,” Weir added.
Sandell has already been in action for the team, testing at Panthera Training Center in West Virginia, and is already positive about his new home.
“I’m super happy with the car – I think this one has great potential and the whole team has done a fantastic job,” he said. “It’s the first to days for me with a new team but they’re doing a great job and it feels like I’ve been driving with this group for a long time.”
Vermont Sports Car are continuing to develop an all new Subaru WRX STI for the upcoming Red Bull GRC season, using lessons learned during their partial 2016 campaign to move forward.
Subaru’s driver lineup confirmation leaves the futures of long-term drivers Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek uncertain, while Bryan Herta Rallysport will also be looking for a replacement for Sandell in their M-Sport Ford Fiesta ST.