Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Higgins claims victory at Oregon Trail Rally three concurrent years

Mount Hood - Saturday, May 4th. (PRNewsFoto/Subaru of America, Inc.)
David Higgins slides through a switchback at the
Oregon Trail Rally while Mount Hood gleams
 in the background. (PRNewsFoto/Subaru of America, Inc.)
Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins took a big step toward achieving a third straight Rally America Championship by winning the Oregon Trail Rally last weekend. With the win, Higgins can likely now claim the Oregon Trail Rally as his event, having won the event all five times he has entered, including wins the past three years in a row.

"We drove smart, at our own pace, and just avoided trouble. Once we amassed a big lead it afforded us the opportunity to really dial back the speed on Sunday and reduce the risks, Higgins said. "We didn't win stages outright but knew it was the right strategy for victory. This is a very challenging event and I enjoy the big mix of character among the stages."

As his two key rivals faltered this year in Oregon, Higgins and his BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2013 Subaru WRX STI built an insurmountable lead on the opening stages and was able to drive conservatively for the majority of the competition stages.

The Oregon Trail Rally is a three-day event that kicked off Friday, May 3, with mixed gravel and tarmac stages at Portland International Raceway. The rally then moved to the scenic yet challenging gravel roads around the Hood River and Dufur regions east of Portland on Saturday and Sunday.

Higgins headed to Oregon fresh off a big victory at Round 2 in Missouri at The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, which vaulted him to the top of the Driver's Championship standings.

"Some rallies are won by what you don't do," Higgins said in victory circle. "We didn't experience any reliability issues or make any mistakes like some of our rivals did. I've got to thank Subaru for providing such a reliable, durable and fast car.

The Oregon Trail Rally, sanctioned by Rally America,  hosted over 70 entrants, the most for a rally in the USA this year. The event began Friday, May 3, with several fan-friendly competition stages near downtown Portland, Ore. at the Portland International Raceway. The rally then headed east to the scenic Columbia River Gorge region and the town of Hood River, for eight gravel stages among the foothills of towering Mt. Hood, covering more than 50 miles throughout the day Saturday. The rally concluded on Sunday with five more stages covering another 50 miles through the area around Dufur, one of the most scenic in the championship.

The next Rally America event for Higgins and Subaru Rally Team USA will be the classic Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) on May 31 in Wellsboro, Pa.