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.

The new Rally America National Championship season will launch into the freezing winter of Northern Michigan at the end of the month. The Sno*Drift Rally January 28-29th will slide amongst the trees and frozen roads in Atlanta and Lewiston, Michigan! The images are post card beautiful. The stories are best-seller dramatic.

The hot competition always heats up Sno*Drift’s frigid temperatures. Returning for the 2011 season is the Subaru Rally Team USA with BMX Legend and X Games star, Dave Mirra, and a new driver familiar to longtime rally fans, Britain’s David Higgins. Higgins is the 2004 British Rally Champion and the replacement in the seat left vacant by action sports star Travis Pastrana, who announced last month he’ll participate in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. Higgins brings exceptional rally experience to the team having won the 2002-2003 SCCA ProRally Championships and is considered an instant top challenger for an American championship again.

European-style wheel-to-wheel rallycross made its U.S. debut on August 28-29, 2010. The newly tagged U.S. Rallycross series saw an awesome performance from  Subaru driver Travis Pastrana in his Vermont SportsCar prepared 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Starting from the rear of a six-car grid after a restart of the Final, Pastrana worked his way through the field to finish second overall. Pastrana’s Subaru Rally Team USA teammate, Dave Mirra, finished close behind in 3rd overall, while Tanner Foust took the win.

The Rallycross, organized by RallyCar (formerly Rally America), was held at the Lightning Bolt course of New Jersey Motorsports Park, a 1.9-mile track which was modified to include three dirt sections with a total distance of 1.3 miles. Pastrana’s performance wowed the thousands of fans in attendance and helped create a memorable debut for the sport in America.