Championships can be decided on how you do on a bad day—how you overcome adversity to make the most of a tough situation. Such was the case for Subaru’s David Higgins, who went from nearly retiring early in the event due to damaged steering to a podium finish at the legendary Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR).
STPR, round four of the Rally America National Championship, is known for its high-speed serpentine dirt roads that plunge through the forests of north central Pennsylvania. The high speeds coupled with the narrow tree-lined nature of the roads make STPR one of the series’ most challenging events and one in which equal parts bravery and skill are asked of the drivers.
In the event’s third stage, the STI rally car suffered steering damage. Higgins and Craig Drew stopped within the stage and tried in vain to repair the problem themselves but were unable to do so. Higgins returned to competition the following day using Super Rally rules, which allows for a team to re-enter the following day with time penalties for each stage the team was unable to complete.
Higgins had amassed a seemingly insurmountable 11 minutes in penalties and began the final day in 21st position. He went on a tear, was fastest on 5 of the day’s 11 stages, and leapfrogged up the leader board, finally reaching Third overall on the final forest stage of the rally. “We just put our heads down and went to work all day, and the podium got closer and closer,” Higgins explained. “It’s unfortunate what happened to us on Friday, and we would have liked to fight for a win, but getting to the podium after what happened is a big accomplishment. The points gained here will be crucial to our championship defense and help keep the pressure on our rivals.”