Images via Alex Wong/Emotive Image
Get 15% off all DirtFish Rally School classes by using the code JBDIRTFISH at checkout at www.DirtFish.com
The American Rally Association traverses cross-country for the first time in 2018 with the 42nd annual Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, based in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. After two rounds to open the season in the Pacific Northwest, the next two rounds of the series make their home in the northeastern part of America before the series gradually makes its way back west with events in Minnesota, Idaho, and Washington.
Subaru Rally Team USA took the first two overall event victories at Oregon Trail Rally and Olympus Rally, and will look to make it three team victories in a row this weekend. But they’re not, in fact, fielding a car for the current points leaders; the Limited 4WD team of Jeff Seehorn and Karen Jankowski holds that honor right now. That said, with Seehorn and Jankowski not on the entry list this weekend, here are five other crews that should provide plenty of excitement for the fans on hand:
#75 David Higgins/Craig Drew :: Open 4WD :: 2018 Subaru WRX STI
Everyone’s obvious pick for the 2018 ARA title isn’t actually leading the championship coming into STPR, after a serious of mechanical gremlins knocked them out of overall contention at Olympus. But if there’s any event that can cure what ails Higgins and Drew in the standings, it’s this one: they’ve won it together five times already, including each of the last four times it’s been run. Higgins would actually set a record if he can win it this year, as it would be his eighth individual triumph at the esteemed event.
#55 Chris Atkinson/Stephane Prevot :: Open 4WD :: 2018 Subaru WRX STI
While Atkinson and Prevot had to deal with flames and Super Rally rules at OTR, Patrik Sandell and Per Almkvist walked out of Olympus Rally as event champions in Subaru Rally Team USA’s second car. It’s just been that kind of season so far for Atko, as the Australian also rolled over in his rallycross season opener last weekend and missed the main event. Whatever sort of bad luck is following him around to start this season, he’d undoubtedly appreciate leaving it behind in Pennsylvania with a victory.
#457 Sam Albert/Michelle Miller :: Limited 4WD :: 2015 Subaru WRX STI
Third overall and second in class at Olympus, Albert and Miller will look to build upon that momentum in STPR with Seehorn and Jankowski missing from the entry list. They gave up a number of points at OTR with a first-day engine issue, and had to rebound with the home state podium just to crack the top five in both the overall and class championship standings. Another podium will give them an honest chance at the Limited 4WD points lead, but Olympus proved that even top marks overall aren’t out of reach.
#824 Cameron Steely/Preston Osborn :: Limited 4WD :: 2007 Subaru STI
Steely and Osborn have been hitting up every rally they possibly can this year as they transition from 2WD to 4WD competition, and all that action has paid off. While they were the last scored finishers in their ARA season debut at OTR, owing to broken rear axles and other issues, they’ve taken overall podiums elsewhere at Rally in the 100 Acre Wood and Southern Ohio Forest Rally. And that’s all in an older car, while they wait for their brand new build to be complete. Expect plenty from these two.
#25 Seamus Burke/Martin Brady :: Open 2WD :: 1977 Ford Escort Mk2
It won’t be the first vintage Ford Escort to take to the stages in an ARA event in 2018—those honors belong to Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino—but Burke and Brady have been tearing up stages across America all year long. They just took a class victory two weekends ago at Southern Ohio Forest Rally, and were in fact a threat for the overall podium there, as they posted top-five times in stage after stage. It’ll be interesting to see how they stack up against the ARA competition in their 2018 series debut.