Rally Colorado: 2WD/UTV Class Overview presented by Flatirons Subaru
Rally Colorado marks the halfway point of the 2018 Rally America National Championship, and what a halfway point it is. Beautiful Rangely, Colorado plays host to the fifth of nine events on this year’s calendar, boasting a dozen stages defined by loose surfaces, wide open spaces, and plenty of exposure.
Yesterday, we looked at the all-wheel drive classes competing in the event; today, we turn our focus to the rest of the competitors. Between the Group 5 and Group 2 cars, a pair of B-spec entries, and the debut of the UTV Turbo class, there’s plenty to watch out for in next weekend’s field:
The most fascinating battle here just might be for the overall victory. Rhys Millen and Stephan Verdier are close friends who have won the Baja 1000 and taken multiple Global Rallycross podiums together as teammates. But they’ll be facing off as two of the biggest names and top competitors in Colorado this weekend, leading the UTV Turbo class into its first race. Tag Rally Sport’s Rory Gardiner and Steven Harrell will also compete, trading in their Subaru Impreza from last year’s race for a Can-Am Maverick.
As part of a Colorado MotorSport driver switch, the father-son duo of Craig and Zach Lumsden will not only swap cars this weekend, but Zach will also take the family team’s Mazda Speed 3 to Group 5 this weekend. He’ll face off against drivers like Greg Healey, who will be bringing his Datsun 280Z to Rangely after returning to Rally America at SOFR, and Ryan McLaughlin, who placed fifth overall in 2WD in last year’s Rally Colorado event.
A number of Group 2 drivers will return from last year, banking on familiarity with the roads to secure a decent finish. Roger Matthews was the best of the bunch, placing fourth overall, but four other drivers on the entry list—Christopher Miller, Mitchell Bruno-Frederiksen, Daniel Quiet, and Craig Lumsden—also cracked the top 10. And don’t count out Adam VanDamme, who actually holds a top 10 spot in the overall national championship and can take the 2WD lead with a finish this weekend.
Tracey Gardiner returns behind the wheel for the first time in the 2018 season at Rally Colorado, after spending a majority of the year behind the scenes with the series. Gardiner will pair with a new co-driver, Nia Schenk, in her return to action for Tag Rally Sport. The duo will go head-to-head with Chris Sladek, part of the Maxxis/HPD Rally Team, who will be looking to overtake Doug Gekiere in the driver’s championship this weekend by simply finishing the event.