As the temperatures lingered below freezing in Lewiston, Michigan, portly snowflakes fell lazily from the sky. Several minutes before three o'clock, rally cars began their screaming launch from the start of Stage 1. Within the first three stages, the first car on the road had overshot a turn and become entrenched in loose snow. Subaru Rally Team USA's David Higgins and Craig Drew, who were a mere 19 seconds behind in car #75, now had a two minute advantage over their closest competitor. This sizable lead grew as the racing continued into the night. On the sixth stage, David and Craig experienced a mechanical issue and were unable to continue.
In SRT USA #40, Dave Mirra and Marshall Clarke progressed steadily up the ranks and were in second place by Stage 6, 54 seconds behind first. A puncture on the final stage of the evening took slightly over four minutes out of their time and pushed them back to fifth. With over half of the event's stage mileage remaining tomorrow and challenging new roads, Dave Mirra has much ground in which to regain lost time.
The 2011 Sno*Drift Rally continues tomorrow with Day 2 beginning at a Parc Exposé in Atlanta, Michigan. Stage 8, East Branch Long, is the first of Saturday's racing and at 15 miles long is sure to shake up the field. With overnight temperatures in the low single digits and snow continuing through tomorrow, it's going to be a bitter fight to the end.