Milton, VT – Vermont SportsCar (VSC) driver Conner Martell secured his first career rally victory at the Boone Forest Rally in Kentucky this past weekend. The event, part of the ARA East Regional championship, unfolded in the beautiful Daniel Boone National Forest near McKee, KY, nestled in the foothills of Appalachia. Martell, piloting a Vermont SportsCar-prepared Subaru WRX STI Open Class car alongside co-driver Keaton Williams, won all but one of the rally’s five stages to earn a commanding victory after his closest rival faltered.
Martell and Williams took the lead on the first stage before an intense battle between Martell and driver Patrick Gruszka took place with the duo separated by just tenths of a second on stages 2 and 3. Unfortunately for Gruszka, stage four saw him unexpectedly retire leaving Martell firmly in the lead. Martell sealed the deal with wins in stages four and five, securing his first-ever overall rally victory in the process.
“I’m thrilled to secure my first overall rally win,” said Martell. “It was a tough rally with tricky conditions. A huge thanks to Keaton Williams for co-driving and the Vermont SportsCar team for keeping the car together on those rough roads. I loved seeing the local support for this event and hope to come back and do more rallying soon in Kentucky.”
The Boone Forest Rally’s debut marked a significant milestone for the region’s ambitions to host more rally events in the future. The Boone Forest Rally came together with the help of Backroads of Appalachia a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a passion for the Appalachian Region. Through motorsports-focused tourism, they work to drive economic development, job training, and opportunity in the impoverished areas of Appalachia.