X Games Preview: Subaru Puma Rallycross Team

Image via Subaru Rally Team

For years, Subaru represented the dominant manufacturer in rally racing, and such was the case as the sport began to catch on in America. Behind four-time Rally America champion Travis Pastrana, gymkhana expert Ken Block, BMX legend Dave Mirra, and 2011 Rally America champion David Higgins, Imprezas dominated the sport, leading to increased interest from rival manufacturers. Only Mirra made the transition to rallycross with the brand, but he joins two formidable drivers – three-time defending European rallycross champion Sverre Isachsen and skateboarding expert Bucky Lasek – as the brand attempts to take its first win of the season at X Games.

Here’s what to expect from the Puma-backed factory effort in Los Angeles:

#40 Dave Mirra (9th in points, 13; best finish 9th): From 1995 to 2009, Mirra scored a total of 24 medals at X Games, primarily in BMX; he scored a bronze in head-to-head rally in 2008, marking his only racing medal. This season has been a tough one for the Miracle Boy, who saw his Charlotte final end at the hands of Toomas Heikkinen and failed to make the Texas final after a poor jump landing in practice threw off his entire race day. The face of Subaru’s rallycross team doesn’t take too kindly to struggling, however, and won’t be looking to stay low in the running order in Los Angeles.

Image via Subaru Rally Team

#11 Sverre Isachsen (10th in points, 12; best finish 10th): If anybody expected the transition from European to American rallycross to be an easy one for that continent’s three-time defending champion, especially against a lot of former ERC competition, they’ve been proven very wrong. Isachsen missed the final at Charlotte when he inexplicably slowed in the last chance qualifier, and crashed out in the first of three attempts at the Texas final. Adjusting to the Subaru hasn’t been easy for the longtime Ford driver, but perhaps X Games will provide an opportunity to get back on track.

#81 Bucky Lasek (13th in points, 9; best finish 11th): One of the sport’s true rookies (remember, skateboarding was his first trade), Lasek has been adapting respectably to four much larger wheels than he’s used to. He hasn’t made it to a final yet, but his failed attempt at skipping the jump at Texas was one of the series’ most exciting moments this year, and adapting to this sport took time for the other action sports athletes who made the transition, too. Expect more from Lasek in the future, but for now, it would be a surprise if his love for X Games led to game-changing gains in his skill behind the wheel.

– Chris Leone


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