Subaru is preparing for a rally double-header this weekend as they send Subaru Rally Team USA (SRTUSA) to Maine to compete in the New England Forest Rally while Subaru PUMA RallyCross Team (SPRT) will head to nearby New Hampshire Motor Speedway for round four of the Global Rallycross Championship. The logistical challenge alleviated slightly by the fact that the tandem events both take place in the team’s backyard. Subaru’s technical partner Vermont SportsCar headquartered in Colchester, Vermont manages both teams.
Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins, the defending Rally America Champion, aims to clinch the 2012 Rally America National Championship in Maine at New England Forest Rally. Higgins has had a phenomenal season thus far earning two wins and two second place finishes from four rounds. Higgins can secure the championship with a just a sixth place or better finish this weekend and still has the sixth and final round of the championship to run in September. Higgins won this event in 2003, but the route is vastly different this year meaning past experience will be less of a factor. The New England Forest Rally features nearly 100 miles of technical gravel forest roads that run along the Maine-New Hampshire border. The event starts Friday July 13 at 9am and is headquartered at the popular Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine.
“It is great to be in a position to win the championship this weekend knowing we still have another chance at the next and last round,” explained Higgins. “We want to just get the job done here this weekend, clinch it, and then be able to go to the last round with no pressure and really be able to go flat out for the fans. It’s a big weekend for our Vermont-based team competing in two different events at two different venues and I’m looking forward to playing my part!” Higgins, from the Isle of Man, will have Craig Drew of the UK working beside him as co-driver and the duo will pilot a rally prepared BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2012 Subaru WRX STI rally car.
Meanwhile, just over 100 miles south of where Higgins will be rallying through the forests, a trio of 600-horsepower Subaru STI Rallycross cars will be racing on a course at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in Loudon, New Hampshire. The trio is part of the Subaru PUMA RallyCross Team (SPRT), which includes two of X Games’ most decorated athletes, Dave Mirra and Bucky Lasek, who are joined by three-time European Rallycross Champion Sverre Isachsen of Norway. New Hampshire marks the fourth of six Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) rounds and will run following the NASCAR Nationwide race at the “Magic Mile” on Saturday July 14 at 7pm ET, and air Live on ESPN. The Rallycross course utilizes part of the oval but also includes tight turns, a 60ft gap jump and dirt sections.
The GRC combines the energy of motorsport with the attitude of action sport, and features production-based, compact cars highly modified for competition to produce more than 600 horsepower. With all-wheel drive, GRC cars can turn on a dime and accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under two seconds. The race tracks, usually around one mile long, are made up of asphalt and dirt and include a crowd-thrilling, crossover 60-foot gap jump along with tight turns and snap directional changes. Races progress in multi-car heats towards an eight-car main event.
Mentioned James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc., “Having to field both race programs on the same weekend poses added challenges, but I’m confident that our technical partner Vermont SportsCar is equipped for the tasks. Having David [Higgins] and his co-driver Craig [Drew] rallying in the forests of Maine just a whisper away from retaining their championship title while teammates Sverre [Isachsen], Dave [Mirra], and Bucky [Lasek] are racing on asphalt inside a permanent race track in New Hampshire really highlights the versatile performance of our Subaru WRX STI.”
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