Monday, June 3, 2013

Higgins stages massive comeback to finish 3rd overall at STPR

Higgins/Drew rocket through the Waste Management stage.
Photo credit: Lars Gange/rally.subaru.com
Defending Rally America Champion David Higgins staged a massive comeback at the legendary Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) to finish third overall after nearly retiring early in the event due to damaged steering.

Higgins sliced his way through the leaderboard, going from 21st position all the way to third overall at the wheel of his Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive 2013 Subaru WRX STI rally car. The strong finish helps Higgins maintain a commanding lead in the driver’s championship standings with just three rounds to go.

STPR, round four of the Rally America National Championship, is known for its high-speed serpentine dirt roads that plunge through the forests of North Central Pennsylvania.  The high-speeds coupled with the narrow tree-lined nature of the roads make STPR one of the series’ most challenging events and one in which equal parts bravery and skill are asked of the drivers.

Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins entered STPR on a high after winning the previous two Rally America events and establishing a sizeable lead a-top the driver’s standings.  STPR however did not go as planned for Higgins and his co-driver Craig Drew as the duo nearly retired from the event on stage three when the steering on their Subaru became damaged.  Higgins and Drew stopped within the stage and tried in vain to repair the problem themselves, but were unable to do so.  Higgins returned to competition the following day using Super Rally rules, which allows for a team to re-enter the following day with time penalties for each stage the team was unable to complete.

Higgins had amassed a seemingly insurmountable eleven minutes in penalties and began Saturday in 21st position.  Reaching the podium seemed daunting, but the team felt a top five finish was possible.  Higgins went fastest on five of the day’s eleven stages and leapfrogged up the leaderboard, finally reaching 3rd Overall on the final forest stage of the rally.

“We just put our heads down and went to work all day and the podium got closer and closer,” explained Higgins. “It’s unfortunate what happened to us on Friday and we would have liked to fight for a win but getting to the podium, after what happened, is a big accomplishment.  The points gained here will be crucial to our championship defense and help keep the pressure on our rivals.”

Higgins maintains a strong lead in the driver’s championship standings with just three rounds remaining. The Vermont based Subaru Rally Team USA heads next to their home event the New England Forest Rally on July 26-27 2013.

Take a start-to-finish onboard ride with David Higgins and Craig Drew as they win Stage 12 of the 2013 STPR Rally in their Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI http://subar.us/1aXjx6Y.