Patrik Sandell feels that Subaru Rally Team USA only needs to work on “little things” in order to compete at the front in Americas Rallycross.
The Vermont Sports Car-led team’s fastest car – the #55 of Chris Atkinson – was only four tenths of a second off eventual event winner Tanner Foust in warm-up on Sunday morning, but in the races the gap was often over a second.
Despite that Sandell, who joined Subaru at the beginning of 2017 feels that the team only needs to make small adjustments to the WRX STI in order to turn it into a race-winning package.
“We definitely showed some pace but we have some more work to do,” Sandell said. “I’m still fighting a bit with the car to get it round those tight corners so we need to work a bit more with the setup and also the launches are still not perfect.”
“We are [almost] there, [but] we are not where we want to be so we have some more work to do,” he added. “I think it’s little things, so I think we’re going to get there, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Subaru’s 2018 car has been comprehensively redesigned with new aerodynamic and engine packages. The car has been in development since last summer, and Sandell feels it offers a much better base than the car he started the 2017 Global Rallycross season with.
“Last year we started off with a worse car than now,” he said. “The car now is good, it’s just that we need to keep fine tuning it.”
“It’s a new product from Subaru that came out over the winter so there’s still fine tuning to do but the boys are doing a fantastic job. We’re getting closer.
Subaru Rally Team USA’s only rallycross triumph to date was in 2014 when Sverre Isachsen triumphed at the DirtFish GRC round in Seattle that year. Since then the team has introduced six new cars in five seasons in a bid to move up the competitive order.
For the opening round of the new ARX series, Subaru fielded three brand-new cars for Sandell, Atkinson, and Manx driver David Higgins, marking the first time the team has run three identical, current spec cars since the saloon shape WRX STI was brought in at the start of 2015.