2014 Subaru WRX STI leads Sno* Drift despite big challenges
What does a champion do when faced with adversity? The competitive nature takes over and they do whatever they have to do. After a tough start to the 2014 season, the Subaru Rally America team of David Higgins and Craig Drew driving the 2014 Subaru WRX STI, worked through major challenges on Day 1 of the Sno*Drift Rally. But they still ended the tough day with a 27 second lead over rival Antoine L’Estage.
The day started with sun and blue skies but this is northern Michigan. It quickly turned to snow as the Rally cars entered the Parc Expose in Lewiston, Michigan. The new 2014 Subaru WRX STI Rally car did well on the first leg of the rally consisting of 5 stages. SRT USA #75 was second on the road and had an excellent first stage winning it by 17 seconds.
The 2014 WRX STI is all-new for this season and hadn’t been tested in a race before today. The car began to develop a power issue but still managed a win on the second stage. But on stage three, they lost nearly a minute as power problems continued. Higgins and Drew were perplexed at the lack of speed with no obvious signs of trouble.
Between stages, the Subaru crew tried to locate the issue. But after preparing for the fourth stage, the hood pins were not properly latched. When the #75 2014 Subaru WRX STI launched down Stage 4, (McCormick Lake 7.21 miles), the hood immediately opened covering their view and smashing the windshield. They should have been done on this stage after the disaster.
This is where you find out how a champion reacts to a challenge. With over seven miles to go and his view completely obstructed, Higgins didn’t pull over and give up. The driver who has won the last three Rally America titles, slouched down into the seat so he could see under the hood. He was also able to see out the side window.
In an amazing driving effort, Higgins said, “I would just pitch the car a little sideways to see out my side.” It was an impressive performance and despite the severely restricted view, the WRX STI only lost 10 seconds. There is a common denominator in champions in all sports. They all have great competitiveness and they posses a fiery spirit that will not let them ever quit. This is what happened today as the spectators watched Higgins drive the Subaru Rally car with the hood up and a shattered windshield.
After getting repairs done to the #75 WRX STI, the team rolled out for the remaining four stages. Despite heavy snowfall and poor visibility, Higgins and Drew were in good spirits confident they could reclaim the lead. They cut the 2014 Subaru WRX STI loose and finished Day 1 with a 27 second lead over rival Antoine L’Estage.
The 2014 Sno*Drift rally continues today at 10 am with 75 stage miles to go. Snow continues to fall with about 8” received yesterday. The #75 2014 Subaru WRX STI is driven by a true champion and it’s game on. Stay tuned to Torque News for the final results from the snowy Snow* Drift Rally 2014.