Tag Archives: Sverre Isachsen

Race Preview: X Games Munich

IN BRIEF: It’s double the fun in Germany this weekend, as Global Rallycross stages a doubleheader event at X Games Munich this Saturday and Sunday.

TUNE IN INFORMATION: (all times Eastern) 

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.

LAST RACE: Three drivers earned their first X Games medals in Foz do Iguaçu, with Scott Speed beating Toomas Heikkinen and Patrik Sandell to the line. OlsbergsMSE-prepared Ford Fiestas took the first five finishing positions, giving Ford a huge leg up in the race to defend its manufacturer’s championship.

DRIVER CHANGES: Three drivers will make their GRC season debuts in Munich, including two drivers making their rallycross debuts. Townsend Bell (OMSE2) and Mattias Ekstrom (Marklund Motorsport) are the two newcomers, while the third is a big name in the rallycross world: Timur Timerzyanov, the defending European Supercar champion and current points leader, who will substitute for the otherwise-occupied Travis Pastrana. Timerzyanov raced in last year’s season finale, finishing ninth.

“I think it’s awesome having Timur involved,” said Bryce Menzies, Timerzyanov’s Pastrana Racing teammate for the weekend. “He has so much knowledge of changing stuff and trying new things, so I think it’s going to be good this weekend to see what ideas he has to make the cars faster.”

THE TRACK: The Munich layout is 807.3 meters long and features a nearly 60:40 ratio of gravel to tarmac. The eight turn course is constructed behind the Fröttmaning bus station near the Allianz Arena, earning it the nickname “FröttmaRing.”

“This track is completely different than what we’ve had for GRC and X Games,” said Sverre Isachsen. “This is more like what we have in Europe. This is really good.”

ON THE DOUBLE: X Games Munich will feature two races, to make up for the rain-cancelled X Games Barcelona event. These events will mark GRC’s first doubleheader since the inaugural 2011 season, but the first time in which two consecutive days of points-paying rallycross has been held. Only Marcus Gronholm was ever able to pull off a doubleheader sweep, doing so at Irwindale Speedway on March 25-26, 2011.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Scott Speed, 21
  2. Toomas Heikkinen, 18
  3. Patrik Sandell, 15
  4. Steve Arpin, 13
  5. Brian Deegan, 12

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 39
  2. Dodge, 12

X Games Munich Track Draws Rave Reviews From European Veterans

Part of the allure of Global Rallycross is its inherent ability to create “pop-up racetracks”—circuits that didn’t exist weeks, days, or even hour the start of the first heat race. That dynamic has changed the face of rallycross, with events located everywhere from permanent racetracks to stadiums, as opposed to permanent circuits.

But this weekend’s track in X Games Munich, in particular, has excited many veterans of classic European tracks: it possesses an even mix of dirt and gravel, a balance of tight corners and long straightaways, and the famous dirt jump that fans have come to expect at every GRC event.

OlsbergsMSE team principal Andreas Eriksson, a veteran of more permanent European circuits before moving to GRC, is one of many to approve of this weekend’s build.

“I like this track, I think this is well prepared,” he said. “I like how they put it up. I see they’ve learned a lot doing the track. I hope the weather remains dry, but even if it gets wet we will not have a problem. It’s just more fun if it’s dry, I think, for everyone to see the cars.

“When I came here, I was really impressed with the operation. I think we will have no problems, and I think we will have a good show.”

“I think it’s a little bit of both a European track and a Global track, with the big jump from Global Rallycross, and also tarmac now and proper gravel,” added Anton Marklund, who finished sixth at X Games Brazil. “I think this track will be a lot of fun to drive, and there will be good racing. I think this track is the best we’ve had in Global Rallycross so far.”

To help his drivers adapt to the technically challenging track, Eriksson has been entering his team in numerous events across Europe.

“All of my drivers have been doing driving,” he continued. “(Brian) Deegan was in Europe for the first time ever, and then Topi (Heikkinen) and Tanner (Foust) did a lot of mileage. Also Patrik (Sandell) did some events in Stockholm. I think all the seat time you get in a Supercar makes you better, so that’s why we did it.”

But perhaps it’s Sverre Isachsen, a four-time race winner in Germany and three-time European champion, who best summed up the consensus opinion: “I’m really glad to see this now. They’ve done an amazing job.”

GRC Drivers No Stranger to Competing in Germany

Though both Global Rallycross and X Games may be making their first-ever stops in Germany, heading to Munich at the end of June, that doesn’t mean that GRC drivers are unfamiliar with competing in the country. In fact, if the past is any indication, visiting the country should be a welcome site for much of the sport’s European contingent.

The European championship often features a round at the Estering circuit, located in Buxtehude in the northern part of Germany. Over the past decade, Estering has hosted eight events, including last year’s season finale won by Liam Doran.

But three-time European champion and current Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team driver Sverre Isachsen is perhaps the king of the Estering. Isachsen took his first Supercar victory in Buxtehude in 2005, and claimed additional wins in 2006, 2009, and 2010. Only twice, in 2004 and 2008, did he fail to score the victory while competing at the track.

While Isachsen was often unbeatable, Andreas Eriksson, the man behind OlsbergsMSE and the new GRC Lites concept, would frequently mount a strong challenge. Eriksson won the race in 2008, finished second to Isachsen in 2006 and 2009, and added a fifth place in 2010.

Many drivers with GRC links besides Doran also competed at Buxtehude last season. Andy Scott, who ran four GRC races in 2012, finished fifth in the Supercar class, while Timur Timerzyanov, not long before he made his GRC debut with OMSE, finished 14th. Future GRC Lites driver Joni Wiman finished eighth in the Super 1600 class, while Anton Marklund wrapped up his Touring Car class championship with a seventh place run.

Two of the drivers making their GRC debuts at X Games Munich also have experience racing in Germany. Mattias Ekstrom is one of the DTM touring car series’ most legendary drivers, debuting in the series in 2001 and taking 17 victories and two championships since then. Meanwhile, Townsend Bell made his CART debut at the Lausitzring in 2001, finishing on the lead lap in 13th place in a Patrick Racing Reynard-Toyota.

Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com

NEWS-Subaru-Featured3

Subaru PUMA Rallycross Teammates Look Forward To X Games, 2013 Season

The stars of the Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team—Sverre Isachsen, Bucky Lasek, and Dave Mirra—are no stranger to conquering tough competition. Mirra and Lasek have a combined 41 X Games medals, including Lasek’s gold in Skate Vert on Thursday, while Isachsen has three European rallycross titles.

But Global Rallycross is a whole different animal for this three-headed monster, who come into Sunday’s event at X Games Barcelona looking to carry over lessons learned from 2012. Yesterday, we looked back at last season and the improvements the team has made in offseason testing; today, they look forward to X Games and the rest of the season:

You’ll be making your season debut in Barcelona as part of Global X Games. How do you feel about racing internationally in Global Rallycross for the first time?

Bucky Lasek, Driver, #81: It’s a big deal, X Games Barcelona is our first race of the season and it’s going to feel awesome to get back in our cars again.

Dave Mirra, Driver, #40: Super excited. I can’t wait to see how my new Subaru STI will perform. Not to mention we will be in Spain. Unbelievable.

Sverre Isachsen, Driver, #11: It’s awesome to drive for Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team in Europe also. Rallycross is huge in Europe, and I think the races in X Games will be very popular. My dream is a World Rallycross Championship with GRC, X Games and the European Rallycross RX Championship in few years.

You’ve been at the top of your sport before, and you’re no stranger to winning big events. How do you feel about having extra chances to win medals at X Games? Do you make a bigger deal about running those events?

SI: I have the same approach to every race, and try not to think about the size of the event. But, of course, I know that the X Games is a big deal, and a gold medal from X Games would fit nice among my three European titles. But I also hope to be able to fight for the GRC driver’s title this season.

DM: X Games has always been the biggest deal throughout my career. I have always taken X games very seriously in BMX and I do the same with racing. If I can win another rally medal that would be so sick.

BL: As an action sports athlete X Games has always been like the Olympics to me. I’ve had a great start this season in winning Gold (in Skate Vert) in Brazil, and really look forward to carrying that momentum into Rallycross. It’s going to be an exciting year.

As far as the rest of the schedule goes, where are you looking forward to racing the most this year?

BL: I can’t pick one spot over another due to how much I just love to race, I have friends coming out to just about every race so they all are going to be fun.

SI: X Games in Los Angeles is always fun, and there are some new and interesting tracks on the calendar. To race at the “World’s last big coliseum” at Bristol Motor Speedway will be awesome.

DM: I’m really looking forward to the global stops, Barcelona and Germany. What an opportunity!

Finally, have you set any goals for this season? Where do you expect to be at the end of the year?

DM: I will always have a goal to be competitive. With our newly updated Subaru Rallycross car, there is no doubt we will very satisfied at the end of the season.

SI: Last year was a learing year for us. This year I hope to fight for podiums in most races, and who knows. Maybe we can end the season on top?

BL: My goals are simple, podiums and finishing the year within the top 7. Check your mirrors…..

For the first part of the interview with Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team, click here.

NEWS-ByTheNumbers-Featured

By The Numbers: Barcelona Entry List Boasts Numerous Accolades

Global Rallycross frequently boasts one of the most versatile and talented driver bases in all of motorsport, and Sunday’s event at X Games Barcelona is no exception. The 17 entrants have appeared in nearly every major racing series on the planet, taking home dozens of accolades in the process. Here’s a look at just what they’ve accomplished:

Photo credit: Alison Merion Padron

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Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team to Make 2013 Debut at X Games Barcelona

Fans of the Subaru PUMA Rallycross team will have plenty of reason to smile this weekend, as the three-car team makes its return to Global Rallycross at X Games Barcelona.

Drivers Sverre Isachsen, Dave Mirra, and Bucky Lasek will all return to the team after a 2012 season that saw the team focus on car development. Subaru finished third in manufacturer’s points, while three-time European champion Isachsen scored a podium finish at Las Vegas in September.

In advance of their return to rallycross competition, all three drivers sat down to talk about the 2013 season:

Last year was a development year for the car and team. What were some of the most important things you learned about racing in Global Rallycross over the course of that season?

Bucky Lasek, Driver, #81: Rallycross definitely takes a bit more of an aggressive driving style. The thing that sticks out the most is how quickly you have to adapt and learn the tracks with so little practice.

Dave Mirra, Driver, #40: Throughout the season last year I learned it really came down to a bit of luck plus having a reliable rallycross car to win.  Every race is so unpredictable.

Sverre Isachsen, Driver, #11: One of the most important things for me was to learn the American tracks. They’re quite different from the ones we drive in Europe, which are permanent rallycross tracks. The ones in the US are mainly built on the front stretch on NASCAR speedways and that was something different, but very fun. It also took some time to learn a new car, after several seasons with another one in Europe. But we showed some really good pace in the last races, and the testing this winter has also been very encouraging.

How much testing have you been able to do in the offseason? How much different does this year’s car feel from last year’s?

Mirra: The team has been working non-stop on the cars in the off-season and we got to test the cars prior to Barcelona a few weeks ago.  So far it feels strong, really strong with some big improvements.

Lasek: I tested our new Subaru just prior to it shipping it off to Barcelona. The car is completely rebuilt and received major changes in the off-season. It feels very different, in a great way, along with being stronger and more reliable.

Isachsen: I had a very good test prior to Barcelona and the car feels better than last year’s. The team has done a fantastic job this winter, and the car is better in every area.

With the greater amount of dirt on the circuit this year, will the car require significant adjustments? Do you have to alter your driving style for the different tracks?

Isachsen: Dirt is what I’m used to from the European circuits, so I look forward to more dirt this season. Of course we will have to adjust the car a bit, but what we do is top secret. Every track requires a special driving style. In rallycross you tend to be aggressive, but it’s better to be more smooth when there’s more tarmac.

Lasek: I think the dirt will benefit the Subaru due to our longer wheelbase and setup.  Much improved suspension is one of the new changes our team cars all received in the off-season so we will be adjusting setups a bit, but that is a normal thing when we prepare for all the different tracks.

Mirra: I’m really excited about the amount of dirt. I’ve done four years of stage rally (with Subaru Rally Team USA) so that can be an advantage for me going into my first race of the season. The only downside is the possibility of dust.

Check back tomorrow for the second part of our exclusive interview with the Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team.