Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rally America: Battle at The 100AW

Salem, Missouri. After the first four stages of the Rally In The 100AW 2013, Ken Block, who was faced with the daunting task of running first on the road, had somehow managed to open a 19 second lead on Subaru team driver David Higgins after the first leg of the rally. Unfortunately for Ken and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino their impressive drive on the very icy stages would be slowed by an off on SS6. Ken came over a blind crest less than a mile into the stage and hit a patch of glare ice, his Hoonigan Racing Fiesta collided with a large metal gate, proceeded to then take out an 18inch gate before mowing down several small trees before coming to rest in a rest in a farm yard some 6 feet below the road level. Block would have to miss the final stage of day one.  But, his crew has worked throughout the night to repair the car.  All going well Block will return for Day 2 under the super rally rule.

A very disappointed Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard, who had been running second on the road, would see the Rockstar energy sponsored Mitsubishi Evo X be sidelined with overheating issues after only 4 stages. Antoine had posted the fastest time on SS2, throwing down his marker on what could have been a great battle over the two days of competition.
Not the way David Higgins and Craig Drew would have liked to inherit the lead, but that’s rally and they will take it. Higgins eased into the rally conceding stage victories to Block, L’Estage and Burke before taking the stage victory on SS4. Heading into day two David is now faced with the task of running first on the road. They have over a four minute buffer to Joseph Burke who has now moved to second.
Despite being off the pace of the front runners, Privateer Joseph Burke in his “Snowwhite” Mitsubishi now finds himself in second overall with just over a minute buffer to Laughlin O’Sullivan in third. Burke would be well advised to not go chasing after Higgins over the unknowing conditions on day two but more focus on maintaining, if not adding to his cushion on Laughlin. Burke set the fasted time on SS3 the short but always spectacular Spectator Special in Potosi.
Scion Racing's driver Andrew Comrie-Picard (ACP) and co-driver  Jeremy Wimpey have eased their Scion XD to a razor thin margin over Dillon Van Way in the Fiesta to lead the 2WD battle heading into day two. ACP has only a 14-second lead on Van Way setting up for a tight battle over the final ten stages of the rally.