Once upon a time, top-level rallycross graced DirtFish’s property in Washington. That time was September 2014, when the Global Rallycross series headed to the Pacific Northwest for the first time since 2011.
The temporary 0.84-mile course at DirtFish HQ was unique, not only because it featured more dirt than other courses on that year’s GRC schedule, but it also featured an indoor section courtesy of a blast through the Planer building – a remnant of the site’s former life as a lumber mill. We also welcomed a sell-out crowd of 10,000, making it the best-attended event of the year.
Our neck of the woods is also very much Subaru country and, speaking of Subaru, the 2014 campaign was a strong one for the Vermont SportsCar-led works team.
Both Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek had achieved podiums before that September weekend; three-time European rallycross champion Isachsen finishing second in Charlotte, with Lasek bagging a second at X Games in Austin and a third at Daytona. A win had proven to be out of their reach, but it wasn’t far away.
Both Isachsen and Lasek, the team’s regular drivers, made it to the final at DirtFish in 2014, as did David Higgins, the Subaru rally stalwart who was making a one-off appearance in a DirtFish-liveried Impreza.
Isachsen made a lightning start from the second row of the grid and opted to get his joker out of the way on that first lap – the joker, a shortcut on this particular course, unusually came before Turn 1, making it a key part of the track.
Ken Block – who entered the race as the series points leader, holding an 18-point advantage over Joni Wiman – opted for the same strategy, but a mistake on the entry briefly put him in the tires and allowed Isachsen to pass for the lead. That same shunt also led to Tanner Foust retiring on what was the Volkswagen Beetle’s second race appearance.
With Block being caught up in that first-lap incident and later sustaining suspension damage, fellow championship contender Wiman was left as the closest challenger to Isachsen. However, Isachsen didn’t relinquish the lead once over the course of the 10-lap final.
Olsbergs MSE driver Wiman closed in on the Norwegian in the closing laps after both lapped the handicapped Block, but couldn’t find a way past, eventually settling for second. Brian Deegan, competing in a part-time campaign in a self-run, year-old car finished third to take home his second trophy of his condensed year.
The motocross legend, a winner in the inaugural GRC season, had an entertaining race-long battle with former Formula 1 racer Nelson Piquet Jr – another driver involved in the titanic four-way battle for that year’s championship alongside Block, Wiman, and Scott Speed.
Isachsen’s win was Subaru’s very first rallycross victory and the only for the Japanese brand’s popular hatchback Impreza WRX STI. It also proved to be its only win until 2019, when its fleet of four WRX STIs claimed four wins from six in Americas Rallycross, firmly establishing it as the rallycross superpower it had been promising to be for some time.
Subaru recently caught up with Isachsen as part of its rundown of top 10 ‘Launch Control’ episodes. You can see that, and a gallery of images from the event, below.