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!