Another Sno*Drift Rally is in the books and the memories of thousands. Last weekend (January 27-28th) rally enthusiasts from all over the world took up temporary residence in Montmorency Co., Michigan for the first event on the Rally America 2012 tour.
The normally serene county that can boast of being the only in Lower Michigan without a traffic light gets instantly transformed on rally weekend. A region whose demographic is made up of those of Polish decent, German decent, or those who truly are…but stubbornly insist they are not of German or Polish decent is infused with every culture and a representative from nations spanning from Canada to China and many places in between.
This year’s rally was incredibly intense as the typical 60-car entry cap was lifted and 66 competitors set off to do battle on Northern Michigan’s back roads.
Thursday’s technical inspections were fast-paced as scrutineers attempted to effectively catch any infractions and ensure cars were safe in what was for more than a dozen competitors their first ride in newly built machines. Although mild temperatures provided teams with decent working conditions on Thursday, the warm-up wracked havoc the next day, when already icy roads became scary slick and increasingly challenging as each car passed through one of the twelve stages slated for Friday following the Parc Expose in downtown Lewiston.
Although temperatures dropped on Saturday, fresh falling snow did nothing to improve the slick and slushy conditions. Drivers, navigators, and team members were put to the test over the course of twelve additional stages. Using their resources and skills to the maximum to gain speed and lower course time without sacrificing car or body in the process.
Rally’s like Sno*Drift are a challenge mentally, physically, and mechanically which proves the motto of “Real Cars, Real Roads, Real Fast!”
When the final clock was stopped it was David Higgins & co-driver Craig Drew who topped the leader board in their 2012 Subaru WRX STi with a total stage time of 2:42:44.3. The no.75 team had jumped to the top of the leader board early on Friday and despite several challenges from the no.17 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer driven by Antoine L’Estage & Nathalie Richard the duo was able to hold on to their no.1 rank by less than two minutes.
Last years champion Travis and Terry Hanson made another amazing showing in their 2007 Subaru WRX proving that their no.523 still had what it took, placing third overall and doing it in a Super Production car, beating out several competitors running in the Open and much less restricted division.
Topping the two-wheel-drive leader board and finishing an impressive 11th overall was the team of Chris Duplessis and Karl Atkinson, their no.70 Ford Fiesta R2 motored into the final MTC and awards party still looking good.
On the Regional level it was all Dave Parps and Erik Zenz. The all-American team drove their no.323 1988 Mazda 323 to victory on both Friday and Saturday, completing a full sweep and earning them the honor of the Joe Andreini Memorial Award for their fastest time in a Production car on Stage no.11 which was appropriately titled Uncle Joe’s Revenge.
With 58 of the original 66 competitors finishing all 24 stages, the event was truly a success and now that everyone can feel their fingers and toes once more, excitement is already building for the 100-Acre Wood Rally in Salem, MO. on February 24-25th.
For more information on the Sno*Drift Rally and other upcoming exciting events visit the Rally America website and become a part of auto racing in its purest form!