The 2012 Rally America Championship Ends In a Cloud of Dust at Olympus Rally

Cherry Hill, N.J., Sept. 27, 2012 - With the 2012 Rally America Driver's Championship mathematically in his favor for a second year in a row, Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) driver David Higgins entered the Olympus Rally season finale with an aim to put on a show for the fans and go for the win. Unfortunately, neither goal would materialize due to extreme drought conditions in the area, placing the rally's forest stages off-limits to fans due to fire danger and creating blinding dust for Higgins and the bulk of the field. Higgins, piloted his BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2012 Subaru WRX STI rally car decked-out in a unique white livery and the victorious number one featured on the door, was simply happy to have finished the event after hitting a rock and heavily damaging the front right wheel of his Subaru early into the event. Higgins was able to limp his WRX STI nearly seven miles out of the stage but lost a large amount of time to the rally leader. Higgins was unable to mount a challenge for victory due to the heavy dust generated on the later stages by the leader who ahead did not have the same constraint. Higgins was still able to finish comfortably second overall.

The Olympus Rally, based around Washington's capital city of Olympia, featured over 70 teams battling on some of the same gravel logging roads once used in the 1980's when the Olympus Rally hosted a round of the World Rally Championship. Extremely dry conditions in the area have created a forest fire risk and an altered event schedule was implemented to keep the rally cars out of the forests during hot afternoon hours. The fire dangers also unfortunately cancelled most spectator viewing locations.

Higgins and his co-driver Craig Drew began the event running fifth on the road and encountered dust from the onset, slowing him at times. The battle for victory was completely upended on stage four when both Higgins and his rival Antoine L'Estage impacted the same large rock in the road. L'Estage stopped within the stage and changed his punctured tire, losing nearly four minutes, while Higgins aimed to limp out of the stage. The front right corner of Higgins' Subaru was damaged by the rock, which then caused even more problems by dragging the disintegrating wheel on the gravel roads for nearly seven miles. Higgins completed the stage and after some road-side repairs was able to make it back to service, where his Subaru WRX STI was overhauled by the skilled SRTUSA mechanics. Higgins lost nearly two minutes in the process, which put him out of reach of the leader, but secure in second-place overall.

"The dust was some of the worst I've ever seen, especially during the night stages when the car's lights reflect back and are of no help. We actually went off the road while going just six mph in blinding dust, as we couldn't see where the road went. I think it was the slowest crash of my career," explained Higgins. "The event was turned on its head after Antoine [L'Estage] and I hit the same rock while Ken [Block] was able to run first on the road with no dust for the remainder of the event. We would love to have won but it has been a great season. We have not finished below second place on any event and that's a testament to how fast yet rugged the Subaru WRX STI is in all conditions."

Added James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc., "Though the entire team shares David and Craig's disappointment that road conditions effectively stymied our effort to challenge for the win at Olympus, there's much to look forward to moving into the 2013 season." "SRT USA will be motivated to defend the Rally America title and earn it for a third consecutive year from rivals like Antoine and Ken. I'm confident that the team's performance and our ongoing development of the #75 SRT USA WRX STI will place us in a great position moving into and through next year.

Videos

POV Practice Video http://youtu.be/dhin9yrg6kA?hd=1

Olympia Rally Recap http://youtu.be/dLzbz1sp5BQ

About Subaru Rally Team USA

Subaru Rally Team USA is managed by Vermont SportsCar and proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), PUMA, BFGoodrich Tires, RECARO, PIAA, Exedy, Motul, and VP Racing Fuels. For more information on Subaru Rally Team USA, as well as exclusive photo and video galleries, visit subaru.com/rally and for the latest news follow the team on Twitter:@srtusa.

Subaru Team Gears Up for GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Finale

Drivers Aquilante, Spaude Ready to Tackle Round 10 hosted at Lime Rock Park


Phoenixville, PA., Sept. 26, 2012 - After experiencing a near miss at the top step of the podium at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) travels back eastward to contest the season finale of GRAND-AM's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Ct. Running as high as second at the previous round has added to the team's motivation to complete this season with a strong finish.

SRRT including their race-winning drivers, A.J. Aquilante of Phoenixville, PA., and teammate Bret Spaude of Bushnell, Fla., are very familiar with the characteristics and nuances of the tight and fast-paced racecourse at Lime Rock Park, having raced at the venue many times in the past.

To date, the team's season has been highlighted by a win at New Jersey Motorsports Park, a third place finish at the Homestead-Miami Speedway round, and a strong run to second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca by the final lap. The team takes the rollercoaster season in stride while confident in the performance from their 4-door #35 Subaru Road Racing Team WRX STI.

"Though it's unfortunate that the car's outright performance, solid driving from our drivers, and clockwork car preparation and development plus pit work from our team isn't accurately reflected in some of this season's race results, we know our team and car represent a championship-contending package," said SRRT Principal Joe Aquilante, whose Phoenix Performance outfit prepares the race cars for Subaru of America, Inc.

Added James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc., "It's been a frustrating season for our Subaru Road Racing Team at times, but I'm confident in the people and processes within our program that have worked to establish consistency, good practices, and helped tap the significant performance potential of our Subaru WRX STI." "As much as Lime Rock [Park] is a singularly challenging track with its relatively short single lap distance and truncated passing zones, I think our team will perform well here by applying shrewd pit stop strategy and some heads-up driving."

The Lime Rock race, on a one-and-a-half-mile road course, will see practice and qualifying on Friday, Sept. 28, and the two-and-a-half-hour race taking the green flag at 10:30 a.m. (EST) on Saturday, Sept. 29. The race will be televised for tape-delayed broadcast on SPEED channel on Oct. 14 at 1:00 p.m. (EST).

Sponsors for SRRT include Subaru Of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), Hawk Brakes, Ron Davis Racing Radiators, Automotive Racing Products, Lista, Rotary Lifts, Cusco, Carbonetic, and Perrin.

About SRRT Phoenix LLC SRRT Phoenix LLC represents the Subaru of America Inc. road racing effort in the 10-round GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series and is owned and managed by Joe Aquilante of Phoenix Performance, LLC. The team's 32,000 sq. ft. facility is in Phoenixville, PA., 40 miles west of Philadelphia, PA. Team drivers Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude race a Subaru WRX STI in the Grand Sport class.

Fans can visit the team's website at www.srrtphoenix.com and the Phoenix Performance website at www.phoenixperformance.net. Follow the Subaru of America Facebook page and subaru_usa on Twitter.

Subaru Road Racing Team Prepares for Penultimate Round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge

Phoenixville, PA., Sept. 6, 2012 – The Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) travels to Monterey, Calif. this weekend to compete in the ninth round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Having been over a month since their last race, SRRT has put the time to good use preparing for the final two events of their season. SRRT will travel first to Monterey before heading back east to the season-closer at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.

Team drivers Andrew "A.J." Aquilante and Bret Spaude are set to contest both events with their #35 Subaru Impreza WRX STI in the Grand Sports class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC).

The team's season so far has been highlighted by a win at New Jersey Motorsports Park and a third place finish at the Homestead-Miami Speedway round.

"We've run competitive lap times at the four races since our win at NJMP," noted SRRT Principal Joe Aquilante, whose Phoenix Performance crew prepares the Subaru race cars. "Our WRX STI has led a fair amount of race laps this season, and we're shining a positive light on the capabilities of both the Subaru WRX STI and our two team drivers."

Added James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc., "As much as every race in this championship is important, these last two rounds of the season will be pivotal for our program in an effort to regain momentum and propel us into next season. Our team has developed the #35 SRRT WRX STI into a legitimate championship contender, and our focus will be to capitalize on its available performance, keep our pit stops tidy, and optimize the pit stop strategies made available to us."

This weekend's race, on a 2.238-mile road course, will see practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday, Sept.7-8, with the 2 ½-hour race taking the green flag Saturday at 5:30pm ET.

Sponsors for SRRT include Subaru Of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), Hawk Brakes, Ron Davis Racing Radiators, Automotive Racing products, VAC Motorsports, Rockland Standard Gear, Ecutek, Lista, Rotary Lifts, Cusco, Carbonetic, Hella, and Perrin.

About SRRT Phoenix LLC SRRT Phoenix LLC represents the Subaru of America Inc. road racing effort in the 10-round GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series and is owned and managed by Joe Aquilante of Phoenix Performance, LLC. The team's 32,000 sq. ft. facility is in Phoenixville, Pa., 40 miles west of Philadelphia, Pa. Team drivers Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude race a Subaru WRX STI in the Grand Sport class.

Fans can visit the team's website at www.srrtphoenix.com and the Phoenix Performance website at www.phoenixperformance.net. Follow the Subaru of America Facebook page and subaru_usa on Twitter.

Subaru Road Racing Team Challenges to the Checkers at the Penultimate Round of GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge

Aquilante Second Place Until Last-Lap Contact With Race Leader


Phoenixville, PA., Sept. 8, 2012 – It was a mixed race weekend for the Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) which showed strong promise after a run up to 2nd place by the last lap but ultimately resulted in a 15th place finish at the race's end.

The suburban Philadelphia-based team traveled cross-country to the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. for the season's next-to-last round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge professional road racing series.

The final race results show team drivers Bret Spaude and Andrew "AJ" Aquilante finished 15th in the 26-car Grand Sports Class with their #35 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, one lap down to the eventual winner. But a moment before the final tally was taken and on the final lap, Aquilante had been harrying the race leader for the win, and was right on the rear bumper of the lead car.

"The story of this race will always be about our cool-headed, experienced pit crew as we executed a seamless final pit stop where we topped up on fuel to make a late race charge for the lead," said Phoenix Performance team owner Joe Aquilante. "On an earlier [pit] stop, we burned precious time as another team's car inadvertently blocked the entrance to our pit box."

"The race had 11 full-course-caution flag situations. The safety car was used to control the field for an amazing 39 of the race's 71 laps. That's an awful lot of safety car time, and each one of them forces you to constantly recalculate pit stop strategies."

The Subaru Road Racing Team entry took the green flag from 10th place in qualifying, with Bret Spaude successfully avoiding problems caused by fellow competitors during his 17 laps at the controls of the #35 Subaru Road Racing Team WRX STI.

SRRT teammate AJ Aquilante slotted into the car as Spaude pitted, while circulating in a solid 7th spot. The tactics for the day were dictated when mishaps caused the safety car to lead the field nine of the first 17 laps.

"AJ made some good passes toward the end to move from 10th to second in 10 laps, but then things went awry. There was no reason to believe he couldn't have passed the race leader, John Edwards, for the win. By that point in the race, Edwards had already been hit in the rear and his car had lost its rear bumper. Moreover, though, John's brake lights weren't operational. Brake lights are a mandatory within GRAND-AM's safety rules," added Joe Aquilante.

"With a win in sight, AJ tapped the leader's car from behind while initiating the pass, but John's exposed rear bumper structure tore through our car's radiator, causing both a coolant and oil leak plus perhaps a small oil fire. Half a lap from a potential win, and suddenly we're 36th overall, 10th in class, and a lap down."

"Our team made the most from a race fraught with laps run 11 times and 39 of 71 laps under full-course yellow conditions," added James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc. "We came very close to putting our #35 Subaru WRX STI on the top podium step, and we're carrying a healthy level of confidence going into the last round of the series at Lime Rock Park in two weeks."

The Laguna Seca Raceway event was televised by SPEED TV and will be aired both Sept. 16 at 1:30pm ET, and Sept. 17 at 2:00am ET.

The season's final race will be at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT, on Sept. 28-29. Practice and qualifying will be Friday, Sept. 28 and the race Saturday at 10:30am ET.

Sponsors for SRRT include Subaru Of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), Hawk Brakes, Ron Davis Racing Radiators, Automotive Racing products, VAC Motorsports, Rockland Standard Gear, Ecutek, Lista, Rotary Lifts, Cusco, Carbonetic, Hella, and Perrin.

About SRRT Phoenix LLC SRRT Phoenix LLC represents the Subaru of America Inc. road racing effort in the 10-round GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series and is owned and managed by Joe Aquilante of Phoenix Performance, LLC. The team's 32,000 sq. ft. facility is in Phoenixville, Pa., 40 miles west of Philadelphia, Pa. Team drivers Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude race a Subaru WRX STI in the Grand Sport class.

Fans can visit the team's website at www.srrtphoenix.com and the Phoenix Performance website at www.phoenixperformance.net. Follow the Subaru of America Facebook page and subaru_usa on Twitter.

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