Subaru Rally Team USA's David Higgins and Craig Drew are off to a phenomenal start in their 2012 Subaru WRX STI at the Sno*Drift Rally. Unseasonably warm daytime temperatures exacerbated the difficulty imposed by the already icy roads. Sand and slush on top of ice forced teams to take a cautious approach or risk damage in the unforgiving road edges, which are lacking their usual snowy cushion.
After the first leg of five stages, SRT USA #75 had an early 1 minute and 47 second lead over rivals Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard. As testament to the severity of the road conditions, Higgins explained, "we had two spins on the last stage and probably lost about 25-30 seconds overall. It's just so slippy—unbelievable really." While the spins on SS9 stripped a bit of time away from their lead, Higgins and Drew won nine of twelve stages and ended the day comfortably, a minute and a half ahead of the competition.
With 70 stage miles remaining, teams still have over half of the rally to go. The weather forecast is predicting an inch or two of precipitation overnight, which may improve grip. Regardless of any slight traction increase, the roads will be very slippery and drivers will be exercising extreme caution. With the incredible performance the team achieved on their BFGoodrich tires today, it is apparent that SRT USA is equipped to deal with whatever conditions they'll face tomorrow.