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Dave Mirra: “My Subaru (Has) Taken A Big Step On The Competitive Side”

Image via Subaru Rally Team USA

2012 has been a tough year for Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team driver Dave Mirra, with only two final appearances in the first five races of the season. But as the man with two dozen X Games medals will tell you, nothing significant is ever accomplished without perseverance and optimism—two traits that are very apparent in hearing him talk about this year. With a renewed confidence in his car, Mirra answered our questions via email about the past two race rounds and his high hopes heading into the season finale at SEMA:

(Interview coordinated by Chris Yandell)

You’ve had issues with other drivers coming into contact with you in a couple of races. Does that affect the way that you have to race, and do you change the way you drive around drivers that you’ve had issues with?

I have had a few unfortunate situations this year but I guess that’s rallycross. I don’t let it affect how I drive.

Image via Subaru Rally Team USA

Your New Hampshire heat race was one of the most wild of the season, as you had to finish it out with a shredded tire. What was taking the jump like with a three-wheeled car and how did you manage to keep it together through that last lap?

I had a blast in New Hampshire and that was the point when I felt my Subaru had taken a big step on (the) competitive side. The car felt great. (Brian) Deegan and I had a fun heat race and I really liked how the track was set up. Unfortunately I got a tire puncture on the 3rd lap and I was all in at that point of the race so I upshifted to 4th and hit the gap jump at a steady pace to keep the car stable enough to make it without any major issues. The Subaru is a tough car and can really take anything you throw at it.

We saw you start the final at New Hampshire, but you pulled off relatively quickly. What was wrong with the car, and did it have anything to do with the jump?

Just after the race started I noticed the car pulling to either side, but really inconsistent. So before I hit anything solid I figured I would call it and exit the race, play it safe. The steering had been damaged at the end of the previous race, likely landing hard on the big jump.

Image via Subaru Rally Team USA

Las Vegas added new modifications to the layout from Charlotte and Texas, adding six-degree banked dirt in the NASCAR infield and putting the shortcut through the gap jump. What did you like about the new layout?

I love the Vegas track. We’re all learning and the last two tracks were so much fun. I can’t wait to see what the SEMA track has in store for us.

What was your mindset entering your heat race in Vegas with both of your teammates also in the field? Did you try to race differently in order to avoid accidents?

That was pretty cool. We all agreed that if any of us had an opportunity to pass then take it. Commit to your line but keep it clean. I was really happy for Bucky (Lasek) to make it to the main and Sverre (Isachsen) getting a podium in 3rd. That was huge for the subaru puma rallycross team.

What happened to you in the last chance qualifier at Las Vegas?

What happened was that I was behind Samuel (Hubinette) and Bucky coming out of the chicane leading to the table-top jump. Bucky went to the left and Samuel was on the right side of the tabletop. I had to pick a side, so I stayed right, but right then Samuel had a mechanical problem of some sort and he suddenly slowed over the jump, right as I was committing to the jump up the ramp and shifting into 4th! That was it, no chance to avoid him and I just hit him in the rear pretty hard. I pulled of the track right after that as I knew I damaged the engine.

Image via Subaru Rally Team USA

Finally, the last round of the GRC season takes place at SEMA on October 30. You’ve said that the team is getting your cars better prepared to run up front each race weekend. What would it mean to score a strong finish at SEMA, and how confident are you that you can pull it off?

We are all very excited for SEMA. The team is working so hard and the cars are getting closer to the front of the pack, we are nearly there now but have so much more potential in these cars still, we are taking it one step at a time and making good progress each event. A great finish at the last race of the year would be huge for the entire team. It would be a huge way to end the 2012 season. Fingers are crossed. See you there!

– Chris Leone

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