During the last week of January, Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) began its season in the Rally America National Championship in Michigan at the Sno*Drift Rally. Driver/co-driver David Higgins/Craig Drew were on hand to begin defending last year's championship season. Here's what Subaru had to say about the team in anticipation of the weekend.
As part of the 48HRS of Tristate charity drive the weekend before Sno*Drift, I had seen the new livery on the #75 WRX STI -- blue and white with black and gray accents. Crisp and clean. Here it is on display in technical partner Vermont SportsCar's facility in Colchester, Vermont.
The rally was hotly contested, especially between SRT USA and Canadian Rally Champion Antoine L'Estage/Nathalie Richard. In the end, Higgins/Drew finished 2nd, only 6.2 seconds behind the Canadians. Details are here, along with video.
That leaves us in between, anticipating a rematch at Rally in the 100 Acre Wood in Missouri February 22-23. This second round of the Rally America series has been dominated by Ken Block/Alex Gelsomino the last six years, so everyone is out to steal the show from them. Check Rally America for a preview.
Conditions for the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood around the Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozark foothills are unpredictable. During the last few years, we've stood in spectator areas through rain, sleet, and snow that falls so hard it causes stages to be canceled. Oh, yes, at sporadic times the sun shines through, but those times are hard to remember.
And there's lots of mud ... everywhere.
But the other side of it is the action -- the cars screaming by just a few feet away, sliding and throwing gravel everywhere. You see different lines taken through the corners, along with slight mistakes that result in time spent extracting a car from a muddy ditch.
Plus, always, there's the sound of Subaru performance exhausts. Whether the cars are in the middle of a heated stage, in transit to the next stage, tuning or warming up in service, those exhaust notes convince you that there's only one legitimate rally sound -- that of a Subaru!
So come on out! The season is still new. Plus, the weather will be fine for rally. Grab your warmest coat and meet me there.
-- Ric Hawthorne
Photo credit: top and third image -- Lars Gange / subaru.com/rally