David Higgins got his new season off to a flyer with a dramatic victory in the snow-hit Rallye Perce-Neige over the weekend.
The 143-mile stage rally event held in Maniwaki, Quebec, was the first round of the newly-formed ARA (American Rally Association) National Championship.
Subaru Rally Team Canada driver Antoine L’Estage, a seven-time winner of Rallye Perce-Neige, built an early lead over the first three stages of the rally, until mechanical issues hindered his pace.
Higgins and Subaru Rally Team USA team-mate Travis Pastrana, who closely trailed L’Estage during the first loop of stages, battled for the lead throughout the remainder of the rally.
Manxman Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew would go on to win the event from Pastrana to make it a Subaru WRX STI one-two.
A delighted Higgins said at the podium ceremony: ’It’s a great result, it feels good to win in such harsh conditions against some top guys, and this was the first ever ARA event, so I’m glad we were able to get our names in the history books.
’The last loop of stages was hard work, the snow was coming down pretty hard on one stage, there was a big snow ball inside the corner, we clipped it and smashed one of the lights, making the night stage even tougher.
’The hood pin was also damaged, so we had to slow down a bit to keep the hood from flying open on stage. It was a challenge but it was all good in the end.’
Eight-time American rally champion Higgins and Pastrana continue on to round two of the ARA Championship, the Oregon Trail Rally, beginning April 21 at Portland International Raceway in Portland. The six-round series continues until August with other rounds in Washington, Pennsylvania, Maine and Minnesota.