Subaru Rally Team USA (SRTUSA) is headed north of the US border to Canada this weekend for the inaugural American Rally Association (ARA) event at Rallye Perce-Neige, marking a first-time entry for Subaru factory drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana in this event. Rallye Perce-Neige is a true winter rally competition with snow and ice covered roads lined with deep snow banks. The event consists of 16 Special Stages covering 143 miles, all of which are run in a single day on Saturday, February 4th 2017. The rally is based in Maniwaki, northwest of Montreal in the province of Quebec. As a dual event for the ARA and the CRC (Canadian Rally Championship), the Subaru duo will face off against a strong mix of veteran North American rally teams from the US, Canada, and abroad.
Defending CRC Champion and Subaru Rally Team Canada driver Antoine L’Estage will be the SRTUSA drivers’ chief rival at this event. L’Estage has won Rallye Perce-Neige seven times and excels in the wintry conditions. Between them, L’Estage, Higgins and Pastrana have won every Rally championship in the USA since 2006, with Pastrana earning titles four years in a row 2006-2009, L’Estage winning in 2010, then Higgins earning every title since (2011-2016).
Travis Pastrana, who will contest the full ARA Championship with teammate David Higgins, stated “With great competition, it makes me smile to be up here in Antoine’s neck of the woods. We are coming into this event without notes and it’ll be a good opportunity for us to apply what we’ve learned at Tall Pines Rally. Obviously, we’re hoping to do the best we can to keep the machinery away from the greenery!”
“It’s great to go to a new event with fresh notes and no experience. It’s a long, tough one-day rally and with the kind of surface I last competed on more than two years ago. We don’t get to drive on snow in the UK so it will be tough for us!” David Higgins explains.
Teams are allowed to run DOT approved road studded winter tires at Rallye Perce-Neige, but not the larger spiked tires typically seen in WRC snow rallies, making tire selection a key part of the racing strategy.
SRTUSA’s rally event manager John Buffum points out the wintry conditions: “We’ve been following the weather and it should be cold enough for everyone. It’ll be below 0ºF but it was much colder in the past. I don’t think we’ll have one-meter high snow banks but it’ll probably be a foot high. Generally, drivers are able to use snow banks to bounce themselves back to the road if they slide off but if the snow banks are not big enough, they’ll have a risk of going over and they won’t be able to get back so they’ll have to be very careful.”
Full coverage of Subaru Rally Team USA is available on the Subaru Motorsports App. To download from the iTunes App store, click here, for Android App on Google Play store, click here. Follow the team on Instagram @srtusa, on Twitter @srtusa, and on facebook.
About Subaru Rally Team USA
Subaru Rally Team USA is managed by Vermont SportsCar and proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Method Race Wheels, DirtFish Rally School, DMACK Tires, PIAA. Follow the team online at www.subaru.com/rally
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 600 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information visit media.subaru.com.
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