“Perfection” as David Higgins, Craig Drew celebrate undefeated season for Subaru Rally Team USA
HOUGHTON, MI (October 17, 2015) – Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew put an exclamation point on the end of their perfect season campaign on Saturday, winning all but two stages of the two-day, fifteen-stage Lake Superior Performance Rally for a perfect rally to complete a clean sweep of all eight events in the 2015 Rally America Championship.
A perfect season has not been seen in a national U.S. rally championship in 28 years, since John Buffum's undefeated season in 1987.
"It was hell of a long weekend," Higgins said, taking a deep breath after it was all over. "It is amazing to do what we have done, but you can only do it with a great team that we have. Craig has been awesome as always and we have been on a good winning streak for a long time, but this one was special. Stages were in good condition and for us the big task was to bring it home. Great job by the team and I'm proud we matched John Buffum's record."
Higgins has been humble and soft-spoken about the perfect season campaign all year, downplaying it at every chance and preferring not to talk about it at all as the wins piled up, beginning with the Sno*Drift Rally in January and as a streak emerged with wins at 100 Acre Wood in February, Oregon Trail Rally in April, Olympus Rally in May, Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally in June, New England Forest Rally in July, and Ojibwe Forests Rally in August.
He was finally able to take some credit for the achievement on Saturday – if a mischievous grin and quick thumbs-up counts as taking credit – but was also quick to share that credit with Buffum.
Buffum, the 11-time national champion, is now the team manager for Subaru Rally Team USA and Vermont SportsCar and a longtime mentor to Higgins and Drew, and was on hand to help celebrate with the team on Saturday.
"It is definitely somewhat difficult to achieve a perfect season, and obviously it has not been done for a long time," Buffum said. "It takes not only a skilled driver and navigator, but mostly a reliable car. That's what definitely helped David and Craig to reach this success. It also takes a great team. All of those things came together for David and Craig this year and it is cool to see it and be part of it. It definitely made it more exciting for all of us on Subaru Rally Team USA."
The team was in top form this weekend: Higgins and Drew ultimately finished LSPR nearly two minutes – 1:51.3 – ahead of the second place FY Racing team of Adam Yeoman and Jordan Schulze in the #425 2007
Subaru WRX STI. Super Production class driver Lauchlin O'Sullivan and co-driver Scott Putnam finished third overall, rounding out the Subaru podium trifecta in the #90 CPD Racing 2009 Subaru WRX STI, and also took the SP class win and the 2015 Super Production Driver Championship honors.
In the 2WD class, Japanese driver Futoshi Murase and co-driver Kieran Wright came out on top in the #39 2008 Honda Civic, 1.33.6 ahead of Team O'Neil Rally School owner Tim O'Neil and co-driver Ian Williams in the #29 2015 Ford Fiesta R2. Honda Performance Development driver James Robinson and co-driver Brian Penza continued their dominance in the B-Spec class at LSPR in the #902 B-Spec 2015 Honda Fit, winning the class and finishing third on the 2WD podium.
Troy Miller's Troy Miller Racing team did not compete at LSPR this weekend, but he had previously secured the 2015 2WD drivers championship based on his performance earlier in the season.
ABOUT RALLY AMERICA: Rally competition can be simply described “real cars, real roads, real fast.” It’s an all-season motorsport that sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over courses that cover more than 100 miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads. Based in Williston, Vermont, Rally America, Inc., sanctions the Rally America National Championship, which consists of eight national-level events in 2015 from Portland, Oregon, to Newry, Maine. Details on a schedule for the 2016 season are expected in the coming weeks.
(PHOTO: Lars Gange, Subaru Rally Team USA)