Patrik Sandell Hopes To Qualify Well, Improve On 2014 Performance At X Games Austinby Alanis King June 5, 2015 0 comments
AUSTIN, Tex. — While the last edition of X Games Austin named Patrik Sandell as one of the few drivers with the speed to be around at the end of the event, the driver finds himself off to a better start this year.
“I [started] in the front row of the final last year, and I think I have a better car this year,” Sandell said.
That front-row start ended in a 6th-place finish overall for Sandell in 2014, the last of the six cars in the smaller final special to the X Games format. Heading into this race weekend with Bryan Herta Autosport and new teammate Austin Dyne alongside him, Sandell believes that “it’s all about setting a good qualifying time” in order to avoid starting behind other cars in the heats.
“I’m aiming for top three in qualifying, because then I am in charge of my own destiny,” Sandell said. “If I end up way further back in qualifying, I will always have cars in front of me and that will make it more difficult.”
The difficulty of potentially starting behind other cars might not be the only challenge facing drivers this weekend, as Sandell noted that the thinning of dirt on certain course segments as more cars hit the track could be tricky as well.
“We’re dragging along quite a lot of dirt out on every straightaway, which makes it pretty hard to get some traction out on the pavement,” Sandell said. “So that’s the key thing — to find traction coming out of those tight dirt corners.”
Despite a lack of traction, Sandell believes that the first dirt corner will allow for drivers to move each other more easily than in Ft. Lauderdale due to its surface.
“If we are hitting each other, you are just moving each other around,” Sandell said. “If you hit someone in Ft. Lauderdale, like, they are there. They are stuck there, so this is a better track.”
For Sandell, the track’s dirt corners are the type that he’s “used to driving” in his rally background — where the driver says he’s struggling is in understeering on various other sections of the course.
But with one day of practice under his belt and struggles identified, Sandell thinks that the team “will have a good race on Saturday,” and has high hopes for the weekend.
“I hope to win the thing,” Sandell said.
Photo Credit: Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool