Subaru Rally Team Scorches Oregon Trail
Disappointingly, top Rally America contenders Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard from the Rockstar Energy Rally Team crashed hard on stage 9 when L’Estage misheard a navigation note and launched off the road into a tree. L’Estage was second in the Championship standings and had upgraded to a World Rally Championship Mitsubishi Lancer to improve his chances of overtaking Higgins. After winning the Sno*Drifty Rally, the opening round of the Rally America season, L’Estage has failed to finish the last two events.
In the Super Production (SP) Class David Sterckx and Karen Jankowski reinserted themselves into class contention with an SP victory. The pair led the event from the start despite experiencing engine problems that could have prevented the team from even starting. However, Sterckx placed blistering times from the very beginning and built a 4 minute lead to stand on his second SP podium of the year. The team finished the 2013 Oregon Trail Rally in fourth overall as well.
“The rally was a real pleasure because I am finally getting closer to the limit since last year was only my first year on gravel,” said Sterckx, “Karen and I have a good communication and we are getting more comfortable with the notes. Tires were very important this weekend and our Pirelli tires were unbelievable. So many teams had multiple flats this weekend but we didn’t have a single one, which was a big advantage for us. We had issues with our engine but the Subaru engines are so strong it held together all weekend.”
Local driver Dave Henderson with co-driver Terrence McDowell fought a furious battle of seconds with 2012 Super Production Class Champions, Lauchlin O’Sullivan and Scott Putnam for second place. Henderson overtook O’Sullivan on stage 15, and O’Sullivan suffered a massive rollover on stage 16. This is Henderson’s second consecutive SP national podium at the Oregon Trail Rally. Henderson also won all three regional rally events – Wagons Ho!, Shunpiker Stages and the Trails End Regional Rally.
Third place in Super Production was awarded to another Oregon driver, Mike Goodwin, with co-driver Michael Milos, after event officials discovered a timing error that moved current SP points leaders Evan Cline and Jake Blattner into fourth place.