Teams are wasting no time with their driver changes in the new year – on day four of 2017, it was time to hastily update the Rallycross Silly Season Spreadsheet! Subaru announced a big change in their Red Bull GRC team, bringing in one big surprise and one a little more anticipated. First the surprise – Subaru has managed to spirit the seasoned Patrik Sandell from driving a Ford with Bryan Herta Rallysport to the Subie side. A competitor in GRC since 2013, the Swede is no stranger to the champagne spray with one win and five podiums in 2016 alone. Additionally, Australian rally driver Chris Atkinson who competed for the team in select GRC events last season has also been brought onto the team for the full 2017 season in the Vermont SportsCar WRX STI.
“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.”
Rally driver David Higgins has also driven in a few GRC events for Subaru, and will continue to compete in rally for the USA team. In 2016, the new non-profit ARA (American Rally Association) was formed, headed by Tim O’Neil. Subaru has put their faith in the new sanctioning body and will be a national sponsor for the first year, while fielding Higgins and teammate Travis Pastrana. Sandell and Atkinson are both competitive rally drivers as well, so perhaps we can look forward to some more cross-over between rally and rallycross in the coming year.