LEWISTON, Mich. — Ice-covered roads were the story at the 38th annual running of the Sno*Drift Rally, the kick-off event to the 2012 Rally America National Championship, but it was Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and Craig Drew who managed the extreme conditions to take the overall win.
Higgins and Drew are the reigning national champions, and they took the first step toward defending their title in the six-round 2012 Rally America National Championship by winning 15 out of 24 stages.
“This is a good win,” said Higgins. “The conditions were the most treacherous I have ever seen.”
Higgins finished the event 1:49.9 ahead of Rockstar Energy Drink’s Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard. The Rockstar team never held the lead but they made considerable time on Higgins on the first leg of day two and looked like they would get closer to challenging the Subaru driver.
“We chose to use snow tires at the start of the day,” said L’Estage, “versus Higgins’ ice tires. We just gambled right and were making up good time until after the first service.”
Last year, Sno*Drift winners Travis and Terry Hanson made rally history by becoming the first Super Production (SP) team to win an overall event.
This year the son and father duo took third overall for a consecutive Sno*Drift podium and secured the SP Class win in dominant fashion.
The SP battle for second and third place was fairly close considering that the icy Sno*Drift conditions spread the field to greater-than-usual lengths. Lauchlin O’Sullivan and Scott Putnam, piloting an unfamiliar Mitsubishi EVO, held a 45.8-second advantage over newcomer driver David Sterckx and co-driver Karen Jankowski.
The Sno*Drift Rally is David Sterckx’s first Rally America National Championship event. Sterckx is a former 2001 Belgium Rally Group N DR2 Champ and has been preparing for his first national event since last year.
In the 2-Wheel Drive (2WD) Class, Chris Duplessis and Karl Atkinson once again topped the 2WD field in their 2011 Ford Fiesta R2 winning all the stages in class and consistently placed within the top 10 overall. His performance netted him the Sno*Attack title, a championship for 2WD cars run in conjunction with the Sno*Drift Rally.
A record-breaking 65 teams started the Sno*Drift Rally.
Erik Zenz and Dave Parps successfully swept the top spot at the Sno*Regional and Drift Regional Rallies in their 1988 Mazda 323.