This weekend packed triple the excitement and drama as all three, yes, three, Subaru WRX STI rallycross cars were ready to compete and win.
From the beginning, Sverre Isachsen (#11) looked to be a contender for the top spot and Bucky Lasek (#81) was gunning for his next podium. Travis Pastrana (#199) spent a few laps getting his rallycross wheels back under him after not being on track since X Games in June, but he quickly produced some of the quickest lap times. The fast pace of practice and heat races looked promising for the entire team to capture podium spots.
On Day 2, Isachen and Pastrana transitioned their quick practice times into spots in the final. Lasek was left to fight his battle in the LCQ. In his standard fearless fashion, Bucky was quick off the line, but was tagged from behind and then landed a hard hit to his door, causing the race to be red flagged. Even with a clean restart, Lasek wasn’t able to fully recover and couldn’t advance.
The final race posted the #11 and #199 cars on the second row, in the thick of the pack. On the first lap, Isachsen suffered a flat tire and closed up his tailpipe, shutting down his run for the podium.
The race was still on for Pastrana, who finished 6th and retained the only intact Subaru for the race the next day. Through the evening hours, the teams of Lasek and Isachsen pulled off engine swaps and other major maintenance changes.
Day 3 brought the second event of the weekend. Isachsen was the quickest of the Subaru cars in the morning practice runs. On the first lap of qualifying, Pastrana sustained a flat tire, but rebounded to advance from his heat race to the finals. Lasek’s Subaru showed no outward signs of the carnage from the day before and a strong semifinal run put him alongside his teammate for the final. In a complete turn of events, Isachsen failed to advance to the final via the semifinals and was forced to contend in the LCQ. Turning up his competitiveness, Isachsen left the entire field behind him in the LCQ, earning a spot for the third Subaru in the final.
In the opening lap of the final, the Subaru rallycross cars were running 4th, 5th, and 6th. Lasek, in 4th, took the joker at the end of lap 1, but was unable to advance. Pastrana and Isachsen took the joker on lap 2, allowing Pastrana to advance his car to 4th. Isachsen remained in 6th. Lasek and Isachsen battled each other for that 5th spot lap after lap. A mishap by Pastrana opened the door for Lasek and Isachsen and put Pastrana back to 8th. The Viking Warrior was able to outrace Lasek at the end to take 4th, and, with it, SRT USA produced their best team result of the season.
SRT USA headed from Los Angeles to Seattle, knowing they had the cars set up to win. The second to last round was held at DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Washington.
Once again, the team had a third car in their lineup – Rally America driver David Higgins was getting behind the wheel for his first rallycross race since 2012.
This all-gravel course was the first of its kind this year and required a different set of driving skills as the course changed with each lap. Day 1 was a wet mess, requiring tread tires for the first time this race season.
Also unique to this course was a tunnel, an old planer building once used for cutting lumber. While it looked cool, the changing light from shade to bright sunlight was blinding, and the tunnel played an important role in the course layout.
From the semifinal, Isachsen moved on, continuing his streak of making all but one race finals this year. Both Lasek and Higgins failed to advance, leaving them to fight in the LCQ for the final four spots. On the green-light signal, Lasek’s car failed to start, leaving him alone at the start and eventually behind the pack.
Smart and skillfull driving by Higgins in the LCQ placed him in 2nd after taking his joker lap and setting him up to drive in the finals.
Isachen took the early lead on the first lap in his STI and never looked back, leading the entire 10-lap final to take the win.
Fighting from the back of the grid, Higgins was able to get all the way up to 4th before mechanical issues dropped him back into 8th.
It was an exciting weekend series. The win bumped Isachsen up to 5th in the overall series standings and Subaru now sits 3rd in the manufacturer standings with one race to go!
Missed out on the action? Check out Launch Control for the video series on the team.