July 22nd, 2019
Newry, Maine, Jul 22, 2019 – Subaru Motorsports USA driver David Higgins took the overall win at this weekend’s New England Forest Rally, moving the Isle of Man native into first place in the 2019 American Rally Association (ARA) championship. Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew took the lead early on Friday and carefully navigated the rough, rocky stages through the remainder of the event to secure the second outright victory of their 2018 title defense. Teammate Oliver Solberg and co-driver Denis Giraudet pushed through an early tire puncture to set overall fastest times on ten of the event’s thirteen stages, finishing fifth overall.
Higgins and Drew entered the weekend tied for first in the championship and looking for a strong showing after mechanical issues kept them off the podium at June’s Idaho Rally. The veteran pair were fastest through the event’s first stage and after the second stage held a slim lead over Solberg and Giraudet. With their teammates dropping back due to a flat tire on Stage 3, however, Higgins was able to close out the rally’s first day with a lead of nearly a minute over eventual second-place finisher Barry McKenna.
Day 2 presented its own challenges, with a nine-stage schedule made even tougher thanks to stifling heat and humidity. Higgins and Drew focused on managing their lead while Solberg and Giraudet went all-out to make up time and earn stage wins. When the dust settled, the Subaru teammates had won all thirteen of the event’s stages between them and positioned themselves in first and third positions overall for the championship.
“This event’s been really good!” said Higgins after the rally. “Tough stages, very hot, but this is always a great rally because there are so many spectators – you feel the pressure to perform for them! We’re back in the lead in the championship again now, so things are looking a bit better than they were a few weeks ago. A great day for us and a great day for Subaru.”
“A bit of a difficult weekend for us, but that’s rallying!” said Solberg. “It would have been nice to compete for the win but after the puncture on SS3 we knew it wasn’t happening this week. Denis and I tried to focus on making up as much time as possible and ended up winning ten stages, which is a great result on roads we haven’t seen before.”
Higgins and Drew will return to the #1 Subaru WRX STI alongside Travis Pastrana and Robbie Durant at Minnesota’s Ojibwe Forests Rally, August 22-24, while Oliver Solberg will next compete at September’s Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Subaru Motorsports USA will return to Americas Rallycross (ARX) competition August 3-4 in Trois-Rivierès, Quebec, Canada.
About Subaru Motorsports USA
Subaru Motorsports USA is managed by Vermont SportsCar and proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Idemitsu Lubricants, Yokohama Tires, Method Race Wheels, DirtFish Rally School, KÜHL and RECARO. Follow the team online at www.subaru.com/rally.