Stage rally is the most exciting and intense form of…
For the forth consecutive event, David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew brought home a commanding victory for Subaru Rally Team USA at the Olympus Rally. Marking the return of the event to the National Championship rotation for the first time since 2012, teams faced a triple threat: loose conditions, dust and tricky mountain roads.
“Going into this weekend, doing the recce, I really wasn’t looking forward to these stages — this was a really tricky rally — but it ended up being the most fun I’ve had in the car in a while,” said FY Racing’s Adam Yeoman, who finished second with co-driver Jordan Schulze.
Higgins/Drew won all but one of Saturday’s stages as they established a comfortable lead over Yoeman/Schultze, however drama on Sunday saw much of their advantage melt away due to a blown turbocharger.
“I think the important thing is not to panic overly when things don’t go right,” stated Higgins. “If something goes wrong it’s important to just keep your head down and go. We’re always trying to build a buffer so if something goes wrong you’ve got a little bit in the bank: that’s how it panned out for this one.”
Following a half-hour service on Sunday the team returned the Subaru STI to its dominate form and allowed the pair to maintain their lead. Continuing their dominance in the series, Subaru Rally Team USA picked up their 10-straight Rally America National Championship event win, while continuing to secure their already guaranteed 2015 National Champions title.
Following the event, Yeoman stated the results at Olympus show how the privateer FY Racing team is moving in the right direction. “What’s really encouraging for us is the overall pace: the gap to David is closing and it’s a big morale boost going into the second half of the season.”
Taking home the third place overall, and first place in the Super Production class, were Nick Roberts and co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino in their Subaru WRX STI. Roberts was happy to be back on the podium after a frustrating mechanical failure caused an early departure from the Oregon Trail Rally.
“At this point we want to win the SP championship and there’s a lot of pressure on us for each of these next events because of our mechanical DNFs at the last two events,” said Roberts. “It’s an honor to be up here with these guys and their Open cars, with a Super Production car.”
Running what was essentially a testing session for Subaru Rally Team Canada, Antoine L’Estage made his return to the roads of the Olympus Rally as a Regional Competitor.
Ramana Lagemann and Chrissie Beavis took the 2wd class win while finishing seventh overall in their BMW M3. “We had a lot of fun, which was our number one goal. And we finished strong: our other goal for the weekend,” said Lagemann.
Lagemann’s win provided some shuffling in 2WD championship fight, and allowed Cameron Steely and co-driver Preston Osborne to make up ground in the title chase, as points leader Troy Miller suffered an engine failure in his Ford Fiesta R2.
In the B-Spec class, a production-based 2wd class designed to offer an affordable access point to the sport for up-and-coming teams, Tracey Gardiner and co-driver Tracy Manspeaker took class win in their Toyota Yaris .
Images provided by: Randy Montgomery