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Cherry Hill, N.J. - July 21, 2014 - Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew are Rally America Champions for the 4th consecutive year after overcoming late rally adversity to win the New England Forest Rally in Newry, Maine. Taking their fifth victory this season mathematically secured their Championship with two events still remaining. Their Subaru teammates Travis Pastrana with co-driver Chrissie Beavis finished in 2nd Overall, their fourth consecutive 2nd place finish. Higgins and Pastrana were both at the wheel of Vermont SportsCar prepared 2014 Subaru WRX STI rally cars shod with DMACK rally tires.
A trouble-free victory was in Higgins’ sights for a majority of the event after Pastrana, his closest challenger, was slowed early on the first day after hitting a large rock. Higgins then maintained a comfortable lead on Pastrana until drama unfolded late on the final day when his Subaru impacted a large rock on stage ten which heavily damaged the rear suspension. After limping the car out of the stage, Higgins and Drew began performing repairs to enable the car to drive on the road section back to service park. While making repairs under the car a small fire flared from a burst brake line and Higgins accidently received a face full of fire extinguisher spray. In discomfort and with his eyes painfully irritated Higgins made it to service to receive medical attention while the Subaru Rally Team USA service crew feverishly repaired his Subaru.
Pushing adversity aside Higgins and his fully repaired Subaru WRX STI then won the final three stages of the rally to win by 44 seconds over Pastrana. “It was a great rally until that bit of drama at the end!” smiled Higgins at the podium celebration. “Big thanks to (Travis) Pastrana and (3rd place finisher) Adam Yeoman for stopping to help us out. This rally certainly can bite back at any time and we knew it wasn’t going to be over until it is over. We wanted to win this event, we have so often come here and had to drive conservatively to net points toward the end of the year, but this year we could afford to just go for it. Big thanks to Subaru and Vermont SporstCar for giving us the ultimate tool for the job!”
Pastrana may well have stolen victory from Higgins but his chances were scuttled when he impacted a large rock on the first leg which punctured a tire, losing him over one minute to Higgins. Pastrana made big strides in getting back up to speed, and getting comfortable with his new Subaru, in what was just his fourth rally after being away from the sport for three years. Pastrana won five stages to Higgins’ eight, with several stages decided by tenths of a second. “Getting those stage wins was great and I’m getting more confortable for sure, we are close to where we need to be to now fight for a victory this season.”
Two rounds remain in the 2014 Rally America National Championship; The Ojibwe Forest Rally in Detroit Lakes, MN on August 22-23 and then the classic Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR) in Houghton, MI on October 17-18. Both Higgins and Pastrana will compete in these events.
For press release, click here.