This weekend, the roads of Missouri will play host to what may be the deepest field of stage rally teams in recent memory in the United States with Friday and Saturday’s 100 Acre Wood Rally. After hitting its cap of 75 entries before early entry even concluded, the top teams and drivers in the sport will be on hand to settle things on the stages in the second round of the 2019 American Rally Association season.
No matter which series you may have followed in 2018, both of last year’s national championship-winning crews—David Higgins/Craig Drew and Dave/Mike Brown—will be on hand. Higgins/Drew’s new teammates at Subaru Motorsports USA, Oliver Solberg/Aaron Johnston, will be making their American debut. The front-running crews from Sno*Drift, early leaders Barry McKenna/Leon Jordan and eventual winners Piotr Fetela/Dominik Jozwiak, will return to action.
And that’s just getting the ball rolling.
Two of what are sure to be the most popular cars in the sport this year will also make their respective debuts in Missouri this weekend. Ken Block’s brand new Ford Escort Cosworth, built to modern specifications instead of the period-correct car that he lost in last year’s New England Forest Rally, will make its only scheduled American appearance of the 2019 season. Pat Moro’s long-awaited Chevrolet Sonic LS3, a rare (for rally) naturally aspirated V8, will also make its debut. Both cars will run in Open 4WD, putting them directly alongside Higgins, Solberg, Fetela, McKenna, and a number of others.
The entry lists remain deep in other classes as well. Limited 4WD continues to boast an evenly matched field of crews, with Jeff Seehorn/Karen Jankowski, Travis Nease/Scott Putnam, Cameron Steely/Preston Osborn, Tim Rooney/Anthony Vohs, and Paddy Brennan/Matt James all on the entry list. The two-wheel drive battle is headlined by Seamus Burke/Martin Brady and Michael Hooper/Claudia Barbera, whose cars couldn’t be any more different; Burke drives a vintage Ford Escort, while Hooper brings a Lexus IS350 to the stages.
16 different speed tests will comprise this weekend’s rally, kicking off with a super special in Potosi on Friday afternoon and running into the early evening before six more routes take the field through the full day on Saturday. Last year, Fetela/Jozwiak took the overall victory over Rooney/Vohs and Steely/Osborn by winning six of the 10 Saturday stages that made up the event.