Doing a good impersonation of the Godzilla R32 Skyline GT-R the Subaru STI and reigning Rally America Champion David Higgins continued their march toward a perfect, undefeated season with a victory at the 2015 Ojibwe Forests Rally in northern Minnesota. Higgins, with co-driver Craig Drew fended off their hard charging Subaru teammate Travis Pastrana, with co-driver Chrissie Beavis, who settled for second. The victory was Higgins’ seventh consecutive win this season at the wheel of his DMACK Tires-shod 2015 Subaru WRX STI rally car. Higgins has just one round remaining, the Lake Superior Performance Rally on October 16th and 17th, in his bid to be the first driver since rally legend and current Subaru team manager John Buffum completed the last perfect season in the USA in 1987.
Higgins victory was anything but easy after his weekend got off to a rocky start with a tire puncture that cost him over a minute to Travis Pastrana. But after quick repairs and an ensuing masterful display of driving Higgins went flat-out (pun intended) on the three night stages Friday evening and clawed back his time deficit. He not only closed the gap but as tehcars were put to be for the night Higgins had leapfrogged into the lead, where he stayed for the remainder of the weekend.
“It’s a combination of everything: the work our team puts in, the work we put in, the car, everything,” said Higgins at the podium. “A lot of it is earned confidence as well: like (Friday night) we lost a lot of time to a puncture, then pushed pretty hard and got back in the lead and had the confidence to do it. It’s been awesome.”
Travis Pastrana was determined to fight Higgins for victory and showed improved pace and confidence on only his second rally of his limited 2015 competition schedule. Pastrana won four of the seven forest stages on Saturday and matched Higgins’ pace on several stages. An impact with a large rock however lost Pastrana nearly three minutes early on Saturday which helped keep Higgins un-reachable atop the leader board.
“I feel like we’re not leaving a lot out there. The car’s doing great and we got some stage wins, so no complaints,” said Pastrana. “David’s a tough competitor, always, and we knew that coming in. Anytime you can take a stage win or two away from him it’s a big deal!”
Higgins and Pastrana will be together again in competition at Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles Presented by Subaru Tecnica International, Sept. 12-13. There they will join regular Subaru rallycross drivers Bucky Lasek and Sverre Isachsen in a four-car team entry.
Subaru Rally Team USA is managed by Vermont SportsCar and proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Method Race Wheels, Royal Purple, DMACK Tires, RECARO, PIAA and Race Proven.
Video of David Higgins and Craig Drew flying through Observation Corner D at the Ojibwe Forest Rally 2015 courtesy of gramps0488.