The 2011 Susquehannock Trail Rally began today under clear blue skies with warm summer temperatures and plenty of dust. Subaru Rally Team USA's David Higgins and Craig Drew were first on the road in the #75 WRX STI. Next up were Dave Mirra and Marshall Clarke in SRT USA #40.
With the cancellation of Stage 2, only twenty of the event's one-hundred twenty-five stage miles have been run. Stages 1 and 3 took place on the Waste Management course, an extremely rough and technical nine miles that has damaged rally cars in the past. This was David Higgins' first time on the stage and he chose to take a cautious approach in driving style and in the use of a hard-compound tire. While the harder tires ensured a puncture-free running of the stage, traction was sacrificed and David Higgins and Craig Drew lost approximately three-quarters of a second per mile, ending the day fourteen seconds down in second place. Being a little bit behind and second on the road tomorrow may actually be an advantage for Higgins and Drew, as the front-runner will sweep the road a bit and give them the extra incentive of having to make up lost time.
Dave Mirra and Marshall Clarke kept it clean and did well on the two longer stages of the day, but received a two-minute penalty for jumping the start on the Super Special stage at the Tioga County Fairgrounds. Standing in sixth place now, Mirra and Clarke have a hundred miles left in which to pilot SRT USA #40 to the podium.
Saturday starts bright and early with a Parc Expose at 8:30AM on the green in Wellsboro, PA. The final stage of the day will be a Super Special Stage almost twelve hours later at the Tioga County Fairgrounds. With lots of stage mileage and a good scattering of spectator areas, tomorrow's rally is certain to be entertaining for the drivers and the fans alike.