David Higgins propels the 2014 Subaru WRX STI to win the Snow* Drift 2014 Rally in Atlanta, Michigan. The drivers and Subaru team had to overcome extreme temperatures and snow to win the first victory of the season in the 2014 Rally America National Championship. The temperatures were frigid and the snow was deep at Atlanta, Michigan in the northeast corner of the state.
One mistake and the car could have ended up in a snow bank or hit a tree like last year when the team damaged the car on stage six. But this year, Higgins and Drew were able to hold off rival Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team’s Antoine L’Estage to take the victory.
It was a close race as the 2014 Subaru WRX STI went into day two with a 27 second lead over Antoine L’Estage and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The Subaru team was able to widen the lead throughout the final stages and it was still a close 2:10.5 finish for Higgins and Drew over Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team’s Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Marshal Clarke.
It was a battle from the very beginning with L’Estage leading Sno*Drift 2014 early on the first day. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution punctured a tire on stage 5 but still managed to hold the lead over the WRX STI. The Subaru team had problems of their own they had to overcome with overheating issues, and lost valuable time when the WRX STI hood popped open and obscured their view through an entire stage. It was an amazing driving effort to drive for over seven miles with the view almost completely obstructed. But Higgins and the WRX STI only lost seven seconds.
After the Subaru team took the #75 WRX STI in for the first service, they were able to correct the issues and rolled out for the final four stages. They cut the 2014 Subaru WRX STI Rally car loose and finished Day 1 with a 27 second lead over rival Antoine L’Estage and never relinquished it.
L’Estage and Clarke driving the Lancer Evolution kept within striking distance throughout day two in case the Subaru drivers made a mistake, but settled for second place overall. Higgins remembered what happened last year on the final stage and didn’t want a repeat.
“Last year Antoine hurt us really bad when he beat us on the last stage at Sno*Drift,” said Higgins, “These difficult conditions can change so quickly and you never know what you are going to get. That just makes me pleased to set the year off and get the points in the bag. Now I am looking forward to getting on the gravel at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood.”
Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and Craig Drew win a frigid Sno*Drift Rally to take the first victory of the 2014 Rally America National Championship season. Subaru receives an early lead in the 2014 Manufacturers’ Championship points standings to defend their titles in 2014.
The second round of the Rally America Championship takes place February 21-22 at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood in Salem, Missouri. Subaru Rally Team USA will welcome back race driver, Travis Pastrana, at the 100 Acre Wood Rally who will also be driving a newly-built 2014 Subaru WRX STI Rally car. Stay tuned to Torque News for the latest Rally America Championship news.