Wellsboro, PA — Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew win the 2011 Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) by a narrow margin of 1.3 seconds over rivals Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard. Higgins had a 37 second deficit halfway through day two after losing intercom at the start of Stage 8 and puncturing a tire on Stage 9, but came back to lead the rally by 2.5 seconds going into the final stage. This is the third time Higgins has taken the outright STPR win in his career, having won the event back in 2002 and 2003.
The Rockstar Mitsubishi crew of Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard finished in a close second place after controlling the rally lead up until the second to last stage. The privateer driver set a blistering pace from the start despite being down on power and went on to win six of the event’s fourteen stages including both passes of the Super Special at the Tioga Fairgrounds.
Portland, OR – Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew took a commanding win at the Oregon Trail Rally, round four of the 2011 Rally America Championship. Higgins finished 3 minutes 26.9 seconds ahead of rival Antoine L’Estage and won ten of the fifteen stages. It was a tight battle with David Higgins but the Mitsubishi Rockstar crew of Antione L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard suffered three tire punctures in a row on day two, which cost them the chance to keep pace with Higgins. Oregon marks Higgins’ second consecutive victory of the season having just won the Olympus Rally two weeks ago in Washington State. Higgins now assumes the overall Championship from Travis Hanson, who has lead the points race since the opening round at Sno*Drift Rally.
The Oregon Trail Rally began Friday with spectator stages held at the Portland International Raceway before moving to the scenic farmlands in and around The Dalles and Dufur for days two and three. Oregon Trail began as a dry and dusty rally, but was consumed by heavy rains and thunderstorms during the middle of day two. The inclement weather forced event organizers to cancel the last two stages of day two and shorten some of day three’s stages.
Ocean Shores, WA — Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and Craig Drew of the United Kingdom were declared the winner of the shortened Olympus National Rally, finishing Stage 6 with a 15 second lead over the second place Rockstar Mitsubishi crew of Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard. Subaru Rally Team Canada driver Pat Richard of Squamish, British Columbia completed the overall podium. Richard was competing at Olympus as a one-off event with his new co-driver, Leanne Junnila.
This is the first American event Higgins has won since winning the 2002-2003 SCCA ProRally Championship. He went on to win multiple British Rally Championships before replacing action sport icon Travis Pastrana on Subaru Rally Team USA at the beginning of this year.
Ocean Shores, MO – The Rally America National Championship schedule resumes at the end of April with its two-event West Coast Swing in Washington and Oregon. The Olympus Rally April 30th-May 1st runs along the beautiful shorelines of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. More than 50 top teams representing the United States, Canada and Great Britain will travel to the seaside community of Ocean Shores, WA for the third round of six Rally America National Championship events.
The season has already delivered surprising results. Perhaps the biggest surprise comes from privateer New Hampshire driver Travis Hanson, a Super Production Class competitor, who currently leads the overall Championship over many quicker, factory supported Open Class teams. Hanson, a rally school instructor from Littleton, NH, and his father, Terry from Traverse City, Michigan drew a line in the snow by winning the season opening Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, Michigan last January 2011.
They scored enough points with a fifth at the second round, February’s Rally in the 100 Acre Wood in Missouri, to stay atop the standings. All of this is history for the Rally America championship. The Sno*Drift victory marked the first time a Super Production driver won an event overall. And this is the first time a privateer, non-factory supported team, has led the championship this late in the season.
The Hansons will once again cross the country to test their fate at the Olympus Rally on the same roads that saw them crash out of the event on the first day last year. Travis and Terry will have another chance to defend their unprecedented challenged at the Oregon Trail Rally in Portland, Oregon just two weeks later, May 13-15th.
X Games BMX legend, Dave Mirra from North Carolina and multi-time British Rally Champion, David Higgins from Wales will be among those hoping to catch the Hansons and put their Subaru Rally Team USA back on the top step of the Podium. Mirra has been Subaru Rally Team USA’s most consistent finisher so far in 2011. Mirra sits just three points behind Travis Hanson for second place in the overall point standings. Mirra has a long resume of experience at Olympus having run in the event since 2008. He’ll need to draw on that experience to overtake the steadiness of Team Hanson. Mirra has sniffed at an overall event win. Last year he earned his first ever podium finish at Olympus. This year Mirra was second at Sno*Drift and third at 100 Acre Wood so he’s close to a win that could put him in the overall Rally America championship lead after Olympus.
Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard have won the 2011 Rally in the 100 Acre Wood after a flawless drive from start to end. L’Estage set a blistering pace early on, winning ten of the event’s fifteen special stages and finishing 17.7 seconds ahead of international rally ace David Higgins. This victory was a particularly sweet one for L’Estage, who celebrated his birthday on Saturday, the second and final day of the rally.
Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew placed second overall, netting their first points of the season and keeping pressure on L’Estage as they gave chase for the duration of rally. Higgins’ Subaru teammate Dave Mirra rounded out the podium by maintaining third overall through most of the event with a solid drive. This is the second consecutive podium finish of the season for Mirra and co-driver Marshall Clarke, who are coming into their own after only two events together.