Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top American teams heading to Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally

North America’s best rally racing teams returns to the Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally®, presented by Citizens & Northern Bank, (STPR®) for the fourth round of the Rally American National Championship in Wellsboro, Penn. on May 31-June 1.

The STPR event is the longest and oldest continuously running stage rally in the continental U.S. and will feature two full days of racing near Wellsboro, Penn and at the Tioga County Fairground super special stages. The event will cover over 100 miles of competition roads and fans will get plenty of opportunities to meet their favorite drivers and watch all the action.

Subaru Rally Team USA's David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew
finished second overall at last year's STPR.  Photo/Neil McDaid
Once again the STPR Rally will host Friday and Saturday’s Parc Expose at “The Green” in downtown Wellsboro where fans can pick up event information and take pictures of the cars before teams travel to the stages. Friday evening fans can catch two stages at the Tioga County Fairgrounds beginning at 7 p.m (EDT).

On Saturday more viewing options are available near Germania, Pa., before ending the competition at the Tioga County Fairgrounds for another super special stage at 8:00pm ET. Download a free spectator guide.

STPR regularly draws the top rally teams from the United States, Canada and abroad who enjoy putting their skills to the extreme test of performance rally. Competitors from the worldwide professional rally community are also found at this premier event.

Current Rally America National Championship points leaders David Higgins and Craig Drew are fresh from winning the last two rounds at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood in February and Oregon Trail Rally earlier this month. The duo hailing from Wales, UK seek to extend their win streak at STPR as they attempt to lock up their third Rally America title.

Internet gymkhana sensation and Hoonigan Racing driver, Ken Block with co-driver Alex Gelsomino, assumed second place in the standings following the last round and are expected to push hard at STPR to make ground on Higgins.

Indonesian newcomer, Rifat Sungkar, impressed in his America debut at the Oregon Trail Rally by taking third place overall. Sungkar confirmed that he will stay in his Open Class Mitsubishi EVO X and will be an instant podium contender despite never having raced at STPR before.

The STPR Rally will prove to be a redefining event for the Super Production Class teams. Current class leaders, Evan Cline and Jake Blattner, will not contest the event which leaves their position vulnerable to second place David Sterckx and Karen Jankowski. Sterckx has recently gained momentum after winning the class at the Oregon Trail Rally, and a win at STPR could give Sterckx his first ever class lead.

The Two-Wheel Drive Class (2WD) was dominated by Scion Racing’s Andrew Comrie-Picard and Jeremy Wimpey at the beginning of the season, but Australian newcomers Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth snatched the class win at the Oregon Trail Rally. Reeves impressed by winning with a 3 minutes buffer over second place finisher, Dillon Van Way, and placed fifth overall.

Comrie-Picard continues to lead the 2WD standings and managed to overcome a number of mechanical problems to place third at Oregon, but he is most certainly eyeing STPR to reestablish his dominance for a hard push to potentially secure his first 2WD title.

Behind Comrie-Picard more 2WD drivers are in position to leap-frog over each other as only second place through fourth place is separated by a spread of four points. Unfortunately, 2012 Rookie of the Year’s Edward McNelly plans to skip STPR in favor of the next round, the New England Forest Rally, leaving fellow rivals Chris Greenhouse and Dillon Van Way an opportunity to add more valuable points.

The event is sanctioned by Rally America, proudly supported by Subaru of America, Ford Racing, VP Racing Fuels, Honda Development Research, GrimmSpeed, Exedy Racing Clutches and Teleblend.

Based in Williston, VT, Rally America, Inc. sanctions the Rally America National Championship which consists of at least six national-level events located at a variety of venues across the country, from Portland, Oregon to Newry, Maine. Top competitors in the Rally America National Championship reach speeds of well over 100 mph driving highly modified street cars such as Mitsubishi Evolutions, Subaru WRX STI’s, Ford Fiestas and Scion XD’s on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt, ice or snow. For more information regarding Rally America’s National Championship or the sport of performance rally, visit www.rally-america.com.