May 21st, 2018
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Patrik Sandell has earned a victory at the legendary Olympus Rally on his debut stage rally event with Subaru. Sandell, with co-driver Per Almkvist, drove the #18 Subaru WRX STI rally car for the first time in competition and were quick straight away and took advantage of attrition among their closest challenges to earn the victory. Sandell’s teammate David Higgins lead the rally early before a mechanical problem dropped him from contention.
“It’s been a challenging weekend and I’m so happy to get the win with Subaru here. Driving for Subaru in stage rally has always been a dream of mine and to debut with a win is a great feeling,” explained Sandell at the podium. “It’s been a while since I competed at this high-level in rally, but together with Per (Almkvist) we put some good notes together and we were fast and smooth and stayed out of trouble. The team’s Subaru WRX STI is an amazing car to drive, we had a lot of fun!”
The Olympus Rally was Sandell’s first taste of stage rallying in the USA after being signed by Subaru in 2017 to drive primarily for the team’s rallycross efforts. Although his recent focus has been on rallycross Sandell is stage rally veteran; his accomplishments include winning the Swedish Junior Rally Championship in 2004, the Swedish N3 Rally Championship in 2005 and then the Junior World Rally Championship in 2006. In 2010, he also finished second overall in the S-WRC.
The Olympus Rally, held in scenic western Washington, has a storied past. The rally was part of the first US Rally Championship in 1973 and later ran as a World Rally Championship event from 1986-1988 during the sport’s legendary Group B days. The Olympus Rally is as grueling as ever with over 125 miles of technical, tree-lined forest roads.
Subaru driver David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew were on pace to take the victory at Olympus, after leading the rally comfortably after the first few stages. However, a minor mechanical problem took them out of contention before the conclusion of Saturday’s stages.
The 2018 ARA series continues at the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally June 1-2, where team drivers David Higgins and Chris Atkinson will represent Subaru.
The remaining 2018 ARA Series schedule:
Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally —– June 1-2, 2018
New England Forest Rally —– July 20-21, 2018
Ojibwe Forests Rally —– August 24-25, 2018
Idaho Rally —– September 14-15, 2018
Tour de Forest Rally —– October 6-7, 2018
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, on Twitter @srtusa, and on facebook.
About Subaru Rally Team USA
Subaru Rally Team USA is managed by Vermont SportsCar and proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Idemitsu Lubricants America, Method Race Wheels, DirtFish Rally School, KÜHL, DMACK Tires, PIAA, RECARO and DBA USA. Follow the team online at www.subaru.com/rally