Thursday, July 21, 2011

Subaru Driver David Higgins Wins 2011 Rally America National Championship

Subaru of America Inc.'s Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins has won the 2011 Rally America National Championship. The 2011 driver’s title is the third for Higgins in the USA having won the SCCA ProRally Championship in 2002 and 2003. Higgins also won the British Rally Championship in 2004.

Higgins joined Subaru Rally Team USA at the start of the 2011 season, replacing longtime Subaru team driver Travis Pastrana who had earned the Rally America National Championship from 2006 through 2009. A season-long rivalry quickly ensued between Higgins and Canadian rally ace Antoine L’Estage—the defending Rally America Champion and Canadian Rally Champion. Higgins and L’Estage were at each other’s heels at every rally with the rivalry coming to a dramatic head last month at the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, where Higgins came from behind late in the event to beat L’Estage by 1.3 seconds.

The victory last month in Pennsylvania earned Higgins enough of a points lead over L’Estage that Higgins only needed to finish fourth or better at the New England Forest Rally this past weekend to secure the driver’s title. A tactical fig ensued in New England with Higgins maintaining a 2nd overall position behind L’Estage while driving just fast enough to keep the chasing pack comfortably behind him.

In addition to three event victories and the driver’s title in the Rally America series, Higgins recently won the reborn Mt. Washington ‘Climb to the Clouds’ Hillclimb. He smashed the course record by more than 30 seconds, driving the same Subaru STI he utilized in the Rally America Championship. Higgins has little time to celebrate; earlier this month he was invited to compete at ESPN Summer X Games 17 in Los Angeles. He will compete in both the Rally Car Racing and RallyCross competitions taking place on July 30–31.