Our friends at Tuthill Porsche are chasing a win on Sweden’s Midnight Sun Rally. Porsche virgin, Patrik Sandell, is at the wheel and driving a near immaculate rally on his 911 rally debut.
It’s surprising that Sandell – the 2006 Junior World Rally Champion, currently starring in the US-based Red Bull Global Rallycross series – has never rallied a Porsche 911. There was a time when most budding rallyists would have clocked up 911 seat time, exploring the rear-engined icon on gravel.
But the 32-year old Swede comes from a different generation, where front-wheel drive Ford and Citroen rally cars dominate the junior classes, and there is no perceived need to understand rear-drive dynamics. Nonetheless, Patrik is giving it everything in his Below Zero Ice Driving Porsche to keep in touch with former winner and multiple runner-up, Kenneth Bäcklund in an Escort RS.
““I have finally realised what pure flat out action is,” said Patrik at the end of Day 1. “Driving a no pace notes stage rally with a rear-wheel drive car on great stages is awesome!”
“It’s been pretty interesting out there and Patrik has certainly shown his speed,” says Richard. “Yesterday was ultimately a bit frustrating. The first stage we were bang on the pace, despite a minor overshoot. From then on, due to a very hard packed surface with no gravel at all, plus the stages being very well known by all around us we struggled.
“The good news is that we ran through some setup changes and have ended up with a better setup running EXE TC dampers all round. It will be great to see how today goes on stages that are less well known to the drivers: this will level out the playing field.
“Second place is infinitely doable but to win we will need others to face misfortune. We must also not discount a few quick boys breathing down our necks as well. One mustn’t forget this is Patrik’s first time in a Porsche and the completion at this level is very high.”
With a recent win against the Red Bull Rallycross heroes in Washington, Sandell is clearly at the top of his game. To see a 911 being driven this hard by a relative new boy with no pace notes is thrilling. I am loving this event and the arrival of an exciting new force in classic rallying!