The 2018 Rally America National Championship resumes with this weekend’s Lake Superior Performance Rally, one of the series’ flagship events and its first two-day national event since July’s Rally Colorado. More than 50 entries have signed up for an event known as the “Oldest, Meanest, Toughest Rally on the Circuit,” with all six classes represented by some of the sport’s most talented racers.
At the sharp end of the grid, three of the United States’ best Open class racers will battle for overall glory, as four-time 2018 event winners Piotr Fetela/Dominik Jozwiak will do battle with 2017 National Champions Arkadiusz Gruszka/Lukasz Wronski and longtime racer Joseph Burke, who will have the first car on the road as the event kicks off on Friday. But it’s actually an Open Light car, helmed by Sno*Drift winners Dave/Mike Brown, that holds the championship lead, and will look to hold its own over the weekend as Fetela/Jozwiak look to cut into their advantage.
No matter which of the six Rally America classes is your favorite, there are deep fields at all levels. For example, Super Production has been bolstered by the addition of Sneak Attack Rally’s Nathan Usher/Marianna Langosch, who have moved up from Open Light with the addition of a new engine. They join O.D.D. Racing’s Cameron Steely/Preston Osborn and Toasted Racing’s Zach Whitebread/Cameron Carr, among others, as favorites for the class victory, and even an appearance on the overall podium.
The 2-Wheel Drive entry lists are similarly strong, as the legendary pairing of Seamus Burke/Martin Brady return to the series for the first time since winning the Group 5 class at Southern Ohio Forest Rally in May. They’ll be joined by a reunited Michael Hooper/Claudia Barbera-Pullen, who will be looking to knock off Burke/Brady for the class win. 2WD drivers will have an extra incentive, too: the Sisu Challenge, presented by Tower City Race Team, will see racers compete for cash prizes and other awards, including discounted entries to LSPR and/or any other Rally America National Championship event in 2019.
Of the 54 entries in this weekend’s event, Open Light and Group 2 are most heavily represented with 15 cars apiece. Five of the six classes have at least five entries signed up, and some teams have multiple entries; local favorites Tower City Race Team will back three different vehicles in the race, including the #201 Volkswagen Rabbit of Adam VanDamme, who continues his quest for the 2WD national title.
Lake Superior Performance Rally kicks off on Friday morning and runs through Saturday night, with 15 stages in total on the itinerary.