Wednesday, July 28, 2021

David Higgins set to shake things up at New England Forest Rally.

After departing from his long term commitment with Subaru in 2019, Higgins has been chomping at the bite to make his return. This weekend Higgins returns to tackle New England Forest Rally in a McKenna Motorsports Ford Fiesta, with his sights locked firmly on his old team mate Travis Pastrana.  

Newry Maine: So many scenarios so little time, with the breaking news yesterday that David Higgins will make a return to the ARA Rally Championship this weekend in McKenna Motorsports Ford Fiesta, so many questions come to mind, mainly how his entry will factor in the drivers championship. Theres no question that David is here to help Barry in his quest for win back to back championships, to achieve this Barry has to win every rally from here out. 

 Yes, in case you missed it last year, Barry McKenna a privateer, is the defending 2020 ARA Rally Champion, McKenna managed to better the 2 car Subaru Factory team to take the title in 2020. 

So, scenario 1, road position, road position, road position, especially on day one, dust is nearly always a factor in Maine, much more than loose gravel, there’s currently rain in the forecast for day one, so best case for McKenna would be second on the road that’s assuming we get rain and no dust on day one. 

The Block factor, what role if any will Block play this weekend in Subaru strategy. 

Its not yet clear how many drivers will be in the seated draw, but I expect that Irish driver Marty McCormack who’s also here for a one off drive in Maine in yet another McKenna car has to the speed factor to be in the draw, so there’s no question he will also play a role for McKenna this weekend. 

Scenario 2, the Ken Block factor, so Ken is for the most part running as a privateer, but he is in a Vermont Sports car Subaru Factory spec car, of course Ken is out for the win, he knows no other way, he has vast experience in Maine, but if push comes to shove will Ken play into Subaru’s Championship strategy this weekend, no I did not say “team orders” just strategy. 

 It always Concord Pond this, Concord Pond that, yes of course its one of the most exciting stages in American rally, but its such a short fast stage, theres very little advantage that can be gained. Onto SS3, South Arm, a flat out stage from start to finish, apart from a few pesky chicanes, this is where things will get and have always gotten interesting, winning South Arm and more so the return on Icicle Brook [SS5] often sets a driver up for Saturday and ultimately the overall podium. 

This year the rally organizers have thrown in a little twist between South Arm and Icicle Brook which was always a turnaround stage. They have added Beaver Pond as SS4, this is an old stage that has not been used in years, it’s a fairly short stage with no major challenges but is new to most all drivers, so who knows. So at this time its all eyes on the seeded draw, when we hear the results of the seeded draw then we might take a stab at throwing out a prediction.. or 3