The 2012 Global RallyCross Championship (GRC) kicked off within the immense confines of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team was there to do battle amongst a total of 17 participating Rallycross teams. Seasoned team drivers Dave Mirra and Sverre Isachsen, as well as Rallycross rookie Bucky Lasek piloted their race-prepared Subaru WRX STIs against stiff competition on a unique road course incorporating parts of the oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. The Rallycross ran immediately following the NASCAR Nationwide race in front of thousands of likely new fans in attendance.
"I had many unknowns here with a new team, a new car, and a new series," explained Sverre Isachsen, the reigning European Rallycross Champion who recently stepped away from defending his crown in Europe to join the Subaru PUMA RallyCross Team and compete in the GRC. "Although I was unable to make it to the Final due to a minor mechanical problem I have gained a really, really good feeling about my Subaru during this first event with it. We have only just started the development of our car yet I had the pace to challenge our rivals here in Charlotte, who have been developing their cars for Rallycross for years. They are at their limit yet we are just scratching the surface, so the potential I see is very good. It was a good weekend for me to learn this and get some time in the car, so I'm very confident now. We will fight for victory at the next round, I am sure of it." Isachsen finshed in second place in his first heat but was slowed by a mechanical issue while leading the Last Chance Qualifier race, which would have sent Isachsen on to the Final.
The second new face driving a Subaru this year is skateboarding legend Bucky Lasek. Although Lasek is a Rallycross rookie he is no stranger to auto racing and has competed in a variety of circuit racing events over the past ten years. Lasek is driving a lower specification Subaru STI RallyCross car for the initial few rounds of his burgeoning Rallycross career as the Subaru PUMA RallyCross Team focus on Lasek's development and training program. But Lasek is a quick study and put in an impressive drive in his debut event finish in third place in the Last Chance Qualifier race, just over one second behind second place and what would have been a spot in the Final. "I've driven many cars but this Subaru STI Rallycross car is just wild," said Lasek. "The best way to explain what my first Rallycross event was like is comparing it to being dropped into a pool filled with piranhas, except I enjoyed it immensely! I'm really happy with my performance as I stayed out of trouble, stayed smooth and learned so much, so it was a great first step for me and an amazing experience."
Dave Mirra advanced to the Final with a second place finish heat race and was fighting among the lead pack of cars when young Finnish Rallycross driver Toomas Heikkenen, who collided heavily with Mirra, abruptly ended his race. Heikennen was subsequently black-flagged and disqualified from the Final for the aggressive move. Mirra was ultimately classified as an eighth place overall finish. "It was wild out there and things just didn't go my way in the Final," explained Mirra. "I was pretty upset at the time when I was knocked out, but ultimately I realized we learned a lot this weekend and it was great to get back in my Subaru."