David Higgins looks to extend Subaru Rally Team USA winning streak
DUFUR, Ore. (April 25, 2015) -- David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew come into this weekend's Oregon Trail Rally on an incredible hot streak: they won this rally the last time they were here, in 2014, and have won every Rally America event since. After victories at the Sno*Drift Rally and 100 Acre Wood to kick off the 2015 racing season, and a commanding performance in the opening stages on Friday at Portland International Raceway, fans can't help wondering if the elusive perfect season is in their future.
Higgins says it's the farthest thing from his mind.
"I never take any event for granted, you have to understand," he said, after winning the opening stages of the this year's Oregon Trail Rally on Friday night at Portland International Raceway. "I just try to come to each race and each stage as focused as I do always, and hopefully make everything work okay. I don't really look at how many events I've won. The more you start to think about those kinds of things, the more it all goes pear-shaped."
Higgins has an impressive history at the Oregon Trail Rally. He first won it in 2002 in a Subaru Impreza, with co-driver Chris Patterson, and repeated in 2003 in a Mitsubishi Evo with Daniel Barritt. Higgins was back on top in Oregon in 2011, piloting a 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STi with Drew at the wing. The duo has owned this event ever since, but Higgins says it's always an emotional roller coaster for him.
"Back in 2003 when I won it for the second time, I was probably 5 minutes away from never ever rallying again," says Higgins, recalling the crash that killed his friends and mentors Mark Lovell and co-driver Roger Freeman that year, back when the Oregon Trail Rally was an SCCA ProRally event. "I was that close to retiring," he says. "I wasn't sure whether I wanted to compete anymore, but I decided to give it another go and this event has held mixed emotions for me ever since. I think I always come here a little bit more focused, because it's always on the back of my mind what happened to them."
The increased focus is paying off so far.
"The car feels absolutely awesome," Higgins says of his 2015 Subaru WRX STI. "It's the first time we've driven this new car on tarmac, so even with the wet conditions tonight it just feels so fun and nice to drive. I couldn't be happier with it at the moment."
Higgins and Drew won Friday's stages handily, but Higgins says he knows most of his weekend's racing is still ahead of him.
"Tonight I was just trying to keep the car clean and look after it," he said, as his Subaru Rally Team USA crew checked out the car back in the service pits. "We have to choose our tires for the whole of the rally tomorrow, so we've got to be a little bit careful about that because the weather is very unpredictable around here. If it dries out it can get very hard very quickly and if it goes wet if can be a real mess out there. We're going to have to be quite smart with that and try to take the best guess we can with the weather to keep us on the straight and narrow."