Storylines Abound Entering Rally America Season’s Halfway Point in Colorado
The 2018 Rally America National Championship may face a two-month break after the second annual Southern Ohio Forest Rally earlier this month, but there have been more than enough interesting stories over the first four rounds to keep fans talking until July 20-21’s Rally Colorado.
Atop the list is an extra compelling national championship battle, in which the Open Light pair of Dave and Michael Brown hold a slim edge over Open class leaders Piotr Fetela and Dominik Jozwiak.
The 2018 season actually opened before the turn of the calendar, with December 2’s Nemadji Winter Trail Rally serving as the kickoff event. The first of three regional rallies counting toward the Rally America National Championship, NWTR offered up to 12 points for the event winner to get started in their charge for the championship. The Open Light crew of Nathan Usher and Marianna Langosch would take that win over Brown and Brown, with Super Production winners Mark Williams and Ben Peterson completing the overall podium.
Next up was Sno*Drift, the first national rally on the 2018 calendar, with the national maximum of 29 points on the line for a victory on the last weekend of January. Once again, it was two Open Light cars and an SP car on the podium, with Brown and Brown first, Chris Barribeau and Scott Rhudy second, and Tim Rooney and Rachelle Kaltak the SP crew coming home third. The event saw the season debut for both Fetela and defending national champion Arek Gruszka, but both drivers would take DNFs.
Two months later, the series would return to Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, and the Open and SP cars would return to the front of the pack. Fetela and Jozwiak would defeat Rooney and Anthony Vohs by over three minutes, with Cameron Steely and Preston Osborn taking their first podium as SP drivers in third. Fan favorites Seamus Burke and Martin Brady led the 2WD class with a fourth place, while Gruzka and Maciej Sawicki completed the top five.
That led the series into SOFR, a high-attrition event that saw DNFs from Friday overall leader Joseph Burke and Gruszka and forced Rooney to Super Rally on Saturday. Once again Fetela and Jozwiak came out on top, with Steely and Osborn making it back-to-back podiums and Brown and Brown returning to the podium after a DNF at 100AW.
Now, with plenty of time to prepare for Colorado, the series approaches the halfway point of the year with a close title battle on its hands. Brown’s consistency, on top of an extra event, has given him the advantage in the driver’s championship, but Fetela’s new car has enabled him to take a major step forward towards challenging for his first national title.
Rally Colorado is the fifth of nine rounds in the 2018 Rally America National Championship, as well as the first to feature UTV competition in the series. Veteran rally, rallycross, and drifting star Stephan Verdier will join the field as a UTV entrant, with more expected to register soon.
For more information on Rally Colorado, be sure to follow the event on Facebook. In addition, volunteer registrations for the event are still being accepted; interested applicants can sign up by clicking here.