Patrik Sandell believes that Subaru Rally Team USA‘s progress throughout 2017 shows that the team can fight for the championship next season.
The Vermont Sports Car-led team turned a corner this season after a rebuilding year in 2016. With their fifth new car in four years, and Sandell joining Chris Atkinson in the team’s driver lineup, the team has returned to the podium for the first time since 2014.
“The progress of the team has been great and we have been working so hard together,” Sandell told The Checkered Flag after his strongest race weekend of the year in Atlantic City. ” In the beginning we were talking about seconds but now we are talking about tenths of seconds so there is a good improvement there.
Sandell’s first seasson with Subaru has been a challenging one, but the three-time race winner nearly added to his tally in Atlantic City, only for championship leader Scott Speed to make a late pass for victory.
“It was all the hard work that’s been done by guys at Vermont SportsCar and it finally paid of,” Sandell said of the team’s step forward at Bader Field. “We had a very positive testing a few weeks back so I knew we were going to have a very good weekend in Atlantic City and beyond. Rallycross is a lot about team tactics as well and we were smarter in Atlantic City.”
Although the second race in Atlantic City ended in retirement on the first lap for Sandell, his podium finish in the first half of the double header weekend showed that the Swede’s season was firmly back on track.
“We are always working on improving everything,” he said. “After last week, we proved that we can fight for podium finish. I will do all I can to make it happen. You’ll see more of the results with our improvement in Seattle.”
Three rounds of the 2017 season remain, but Sandell has already got one eye on next year.
“It’s been a year of a lot of progress and we have shown some of the results so far,” he said. “I’m super excited for the next season already, I strongly believe we will be fighting for the championship in 2018!”