This was more than just Round 7 of the World Rallycross Championship. This was about seeing if Subaru is ready to make a return to WRC in the 2015 WRX STI. We reported yesterday that Subaru is preparing to make a new commitment to motorsport and possibly WRC. This was the perfect opportunity to see if the new STI platform is ready when it was so close to home for Vermont SportsCar. Their shop is located just a few hours drive from Quebec’s Trois-Rivieres Circuit where the World RX of Canada was held this weekend. What did this race tell Subaru?
The officials poured over the new 2014 WRX STI entry from Subaru as they had not seen this car before now. The SRT USA team worked diligently with World RX officials throughout Thursday morning as they laid eyes on the 2014 WRX STI for the first time. The STI needed to be modified from its current GRC state to comply with the supermini-friendly regulations currently present in the WRC. The SRT USA team made the necessary mods and it passed the WRC officials tight scrutiny.
WRC return deemed a success
The Subaru Team chose Sverre Isachsen to be the driver who would make the first return to WRX for Subaru since they pulled out in 2008. Isachsen was the logical choice as he is no stranger to FIA European Rallycross and won the series three years in a row (2009-2011) before joining Subaru Rally Team USA in 2012. The return to the World Rallycross stage was deemed a success for the team as Isachsen won two of four heat races in his 2014 Subaru WRX STI and advanced to the semi-final round where he finished 5th.
A surprise for STI team
But this was more about seeing how the STI platform could compete against the top cars and teams in the world. It was a fantastic opportunity for Subaru to test their metal in WRC when it was so close to home and they could compete in their own backyard. The aggressive jumps at Quebec’s Trois-Rivieres Circuit proved difficult and on two occasions Isachsen bent his steering linkage on the STI and required repair before being able to continue. This surprised the SRT USA team as the GRC series features countless huge jumps and it’s never been an issue. The Subaru STI techs were able to make the needed repairs quickly to get the car back on the track for the qualifying rounds.