by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Jason Swoboda

Through two-thirds of the action at the second annual Southern Ohio Forest Rally, the latest stop on the Rally America National Championship schedule the overall win just might come down to two drivers who didn’t run this race last year.

Joseph Burke and Piotr Fetela have laid claim to the top two spots through Friday’s action, kicking off at the Ohio Foresty Sawmill and ending at Irish Ridge North. While Fetela won the first four stages, Burke dominated a majority of the action on the first day of the rally, closing out the day with a time of 1:14:31.2. He and co-driver Ole Holter lead Fetela and Dominik Jozwiak by 18.1 seconds for the overall title.

Cameron Steely and Preston Osborn, who ran this event in 2WD last year, lead the Super Production standings at third overall with a time of 1:17:42.3. Open Light class leaders Dave and Michael Brown, who entered the weekend second in the national championship standings, are fourth, just over a minute ahead of seventh-place OL rivals Jon Kramer and Zachary Jacques. Meanwhile, Seamus Burke and Martin Brady’s fifth-place time of 1:20:55.8 is good for the top of the 2WD standings.

SOFR hasn’t been kind to some of the top names in Rally America, with defending winner Arek Gruszka and incoming points leader Tim Rooney both missing among the leaders. Gruszka high centered on the second stage, while Rooney’s co-driver Anthony Vohs suffered an illness. Open class driver Paulo Ferreira, also expected to run among the top drivers, also struggled with overheating issues.

Class leaders after the first day of Southern Ohio Forest Rally are as follows:

  • Open: Joseph Burke/Ole Holter, 1:14:31.2 (1st overall)
  • Super Production: Cameron Steely/Preston Osborn, 1:17:42.3 (3rd overall)
  • Open Light: Dave Brown/Michael Brown, 1:19:15.2 (4th overall)
  • 2WD: Seamus Burke/Martin Brady, 1:20:55.8 (5th overall)
  • B-spec: Chris Sladek/Alex Schum, 1:29:11.2 (22nd overall)