Rally America – Thursday Notes From 100 Acre Wood Rally

The OpenPaddock.net crew has finally landed in Salem, MO for the 100 Acre Wood Rally! While action does not start until tomorrow at 2:01 pm central time, the cars were out and about today for tech inspection. This weekend’s event boasts a large number of cars and some unbelievable driving talents which is sure to make the event one to remember!

Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta had already passed through tech this morning before we were able to get on scene for photos, but Antoine L’Estage and David Higgins entries along with Travis Hanson were present in the later afternoon hours. I have to be honest, it was almost overwhelming to be back at the event when the heavy hitters started to arrive.

As we mentioned on the podcast this last week, we have he biggest battle I think will come down to Ken Block and David Higgins. The last time Ken participated in the rally was 2010. He won the event after Travis Pastrana’s STi suffered a fatal suspension break during the Potosi super special. This year Ken returns with a new vehicle, the Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle or HFHV. While the 2010 Fiesta was more of a rallycross car, the HFHV allows the car to transition between Gymkhana, Rallycross, and proper stage rally. Not sure how it will perform against the Goliath Subaru from Higgins. I really look forward to the battle between the two this weekend and hope that it goes the distance. Nothing worse than a great battle that ends because of a crash or an engine failure.

Speaking of the 2012 Subaru STi, the car looks stunning. Vermont Sports Car and the whole Subaru crew are really pushing the limits with their machines these days. I went to get a picture of the engine today while in tech only to be blocked by a number of Subaru staff. Not entirely sure what kind of design they are keeping a secret, but the hood hardly came up on the car and every time I moved, so did the Subaru staff. As you can see from the picture though, the car is truly stunning and the team means business down here in Salem.

All in all it is great to be back at a rally event. Especially this one as the talent level is really high and the field looks to be as competitive as it has ever been. The event kicks off tomorrow at 1230pm central time with a Parc Expose in Steelville with the first stage going live at 2:01pm central. Keep it utned to OpenPaddock.net for end of day highlights and look us up on Twitter (@openpaddock) for live tweeting from the stages and service park!

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4 Thoughts to “Rally America – Thursday Notes From 100 Acre Wood Rally

  1. oregonwings

    The excitement is giving me goosebumps! If Ken’s car holds together and he stays on the road, I don’t think the heavier “Group N” type cars can keep up with the nimble Fiesta. I recall last year when they were worrying about the new WRC cars vs. the previous generation Focus and Citroen C4 as they might be slower, but then found out the new smaller cars were setting stage records. If Ken doesn’t get too excited and stays on the road, I think he wins. L’Estage has a bunch of new upgrades to his car that could give David Higgins a run for his money….but unfortunately I think I’ll have to give the factory team of David Higgins and Subaru (and what a beauty of a Subaru it is too!) the 2nd place spot. Crazy Leo is an interesting character….he loves going fast….although he’s fast like Dave Mirra…which means he might find a tree. He has matured a lot in the last year from what I’ve heard, but I’ll still have to give 3rd place to L’Estage. And with his experience…I’ll give 4th place…if his car fix holds together…to Hołowczyc (I guess pronounced Holovits). And 5th overall…I’d love to see that go to T.Hansen.
    Oh..and who can forget the crazy 2wd action! That is going to simply be stellar! I’m so incredibly jealous that you guys are out there. I can’t wait for Oregon Trail Rally and Olympus.

    Question…any word as to whether Duplessis is going to try and register for WRC Academy? It takes some $$, but he showed a heck of a lot of speed and promise going into day 2 at Wales Rally GB. Would be great if a sponsor or investor gave him some help to show the world how we are growing some great American rally talent!

  2. RE: Duplessis – Shaun was going to ask him about that at Parc Expose today. If he forgets, I’ll remind him. I completely agree with you regarding Block. It’s his rally to lose. With regards to L’Estage and Higgins, I think it will be Higgins trying to chase down L’Estage, rather than the other way around. L’Estage has more experience on the fast and tricky stages here in the Mark Twain National Forest, and although Higgins is of course oustandingly skilled, I think he’ll be chasing L’Estage over the next couple of days.

  3. We’re thinking about driving down from St. Louis for the Potosi Super Special. Just bought a 2011 STi 4-door a couple months ago, so we’re ready to take a road trip in it. We were there in 2010 when Pastrana killed it there. Ouch!

    1. Yep. Got a close-up shot of his bent suspension that day. 🙂 Give me a tweet when you get to town! We’ll be there for the SuperSpecials for sure.

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