BANCROFT, ONTARIO (DECEMBER 1, 2011)  Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins, running one of VP's powerful and reliable rally fuel blends - VP RallyMax, finished 2 nd overall at the hotly contested 2011 Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ontario. Higgins and the Subaru Rally Team USA squad attended the Tall Pines Rally, the final round of the Canadian Rally Championship, to test various development components on their Vermont SportsCar-prepared 2011 Subaru Impreza STI rally car ahead of the 2012 Rally America National Championship.

The Rally of the Tall Pines is one of the most difficult rallies in Canada due to the mix of high level competition and challenging roads.  The event also features a daunting 126 miles of competition stages run in just one long day, taxing both the crews and the cars.   This challenge presented an ideal test session for Subaru Rally Team USA outside the pressures of the Rally America National Championship.  Subaru Rally Team USA brought the latest evolution of their 2011 Subaru WRX STI rally car which included new suspension upgrades that the team sought to test.

“This rally was one of the most difficult of my career, the roads are so challenging and there is a big variety in surface grip and conditions. There are jumps, off camber turns, blind crests everywhere and rough spots,” explained Higgins.  “It really made for an ideal test for the car and I think we learned more about the car at this rally than we have at the previous four events we’ve run with it.”

Higgins won the 2011 Rally America National Championship with a 2nd Overall finish at the season finale, the New England Forest Rally, back in July.  In a hotly contested season, Higgins and his co-driver (Craig Drew) piloted their 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car to three victories and two 2nd Overall finishes in the six-event Rally America National Championship.  The 2011 driver’s title was the third for Higgins in the USA having won the SCCA ProRally Championship in 2002 and 2003.  Higgins also won the British Rally Championship in 2004.

Higgins joined Subaru Rally Team USA at the start of the 2011 season, replacing longtime Subaru team driver Travis Pastrana who had earned the Rally America National Championship from 2006 through 2009. A season-long rivalry quickly ensued between Higgins and Canadian rally ace Antoine L’Estage, the defending Rally America Champion and Canadian Rally Champion.  Higgins and L’Estage were at each other’s heels at every rally with the rivalry coming to a dramatic head this past summer at the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally where Higgins came from behind late in the event to beat L’Estage by a mere 1.3 seconds.  

The victory in Pennsylvania earned Higgins a points lead over L’Estage allowing him to finish fourth or better at the New England Forest Rally to secure the driver’s title.  A tactical fight ensued in New England with Higgins maintaining a 2nd overall position behind L’Estage while driving just fast enough to keep the chasing pack comfortably behind him.  

In addition to three event victories and the driver’s title in the Rally America series, Higgins won the re-born Mt. Washington ‘Climb to the Clouds’ this year.  He smashed the course record by over 30 seconds, driving the same Subaru STI he utilized in the Rally America Championship.

Stay tuned to VPRacingFuels.com to for 2012 Rally America action!