Patrik Sandell Storms to his First ARX Victory at ARX of Gateway
MADISON, Illinois (July 14, 2019) – Patrik Sandell became Subaru Motorsports USA’s third different Americas Rallycross (ARX) Championship race winner in as many rounds by driving his Subaru WRX STI to victory in Round 3 of the ARX of Gateway double-header at the World Wide Technology Raceway.
The Swedish driver followed up teammates Scott Speed and Chris Atkinson’s victories in Rounds 1 and 2 with a comfortable victory on Sunday, leading the final wire-to-wire. Speed himself sealed a Subaru one-two finish, charging from the back row of the grid following a difficult semi-final and then resisting late pressure from Andretti Rallycross’ Tanner Foust, who finished third. The reigning ARX Champion continues to lead the 2019 drivers’ championship standings, now by 12 points over Foust.
In the searing afternoon heat, Sandell lined up on the front row of the final alongside Loenbro Motorsports’ Steve Arpin. The Canadian set out to put the disappointment of narrowly missing out on victory on Saturday behind him. It was Sandell who took the hole-shot, with Australian driver Chris Atkinson making a fast start from the second row to try and go around the outside of No. 00 cbdMD Ford Fiesta ST of Arpin into the first turn. Arpin fell back into the clutches of Foust’s Volkswagen Beetle R and with Scott Speed trying to sneak up the inside of the pack and Atkinson was forced wide, which also cost Loenbro Motorsports’ Travis PeCoy ability to contend with the rest of the field.
Atkinson would finish fourth, but the damage sustained on PeCoy’s car after contact with a tire stack impeded the 18-year-old’s vision, making him run wide onto the grass and out of contention on Lap 2. PeCoy made the grid for the start of the final after a collision with a tire stack at the end of the second semi-final, damaging the front-left corner of his Fiesta.
Speed took his joker on Lap 3 of the final, ahead of Arpin, who would later fall behind Saturday’s winner Chris Atkinson into fifth after all of the six drivers completed their joker laps. Andretti Rallycross’ Cabot Bigham finished seventh after making a mistake on the final lap of his semi-final, running wide and letting Speed’s Subaru WRX STI through when it looked like the points leader might miss out on the final.
In ARX2, the official ARX support category, Conner Martell rounded off a perfect weekend to steal the victory from Fraser McConnell on the last lap of the final. The Jamaican driver led from the start, waiting until the last lap to take his joker, cutting across Martell to maintain the lead. But in the penultimate turn, McConnell entered with too much speed, ran wide into the dirt which allowed Martell through to take the win. McConnell’s collection of points moved him back into the standings lead, just four points ahead of Buhl Sport’s Alex Keyes.
DirtFish Motorsports’ Brad DeBerti got his reward for a solid weekend, taking the final step on the podium, profiting from a mistake by JR Hildebrand, with the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver finishing fourth. Cole Keatts faded after a bright start to the day, eventually finishing fifth, with Keyes in sixth. DRR’s Gray Leadbetter and Loenbro Motorsports with AF Racing’s Michael Leach both dropped out at the semi-finals stage after hitting trouble in each of their semi-final races.
ARX heads north of the United States border to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada for the ARX of Canada, August 3-4. Live coverage from the 0.8-mile rallycross street circuit can be seen on Facebook.com/ARXRallycross. Television programming from ARX of Gateway can be seen on CBS Sports Network over the next two weeks, beginning with Round 2 on Wednesday, July 17 at 8:00 p.m. ET followed by Round 3 on Wednesday, July 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET.