Meet the Drivers: Santiago Daniel Iglesias
The 2WD portion of the Rally America National Championship is broken down into two classes on the regional level: Group 2 and Group 5. Both classes have formidable entries capable of posting quick results, and each has its share of uniquely compelling rides as well.
In Group 2, Santiago Daniel Iglesias drives one of those rides, a Subaru BRZ that he purchased just last year after starting off in a BMW 328is. He’s only gotten faster since then, posting a career-best fourth in class in the Zaleski Forest Rally, part of May’s Southern Ohio Forest Rally. Today, we get to know the man behind the wheel:
What made you want to start rallying?
I would say the thing that really got my attention was the Bill Caswell story about taking a home built E30 to go rallying in Mexico.
When was your first event and how did you do?
My first event was Sno*Drift 2016. I only got stuck once and managed to get fourth in G2 for Saturday somehow. I didn't get that on pace so much as just staying out of the snow banks.
When was your first really memorable result—win or podium—and how did you get there?
I finished fourth in class on Friday at this year's Southern Ohio Forest Rally and got my first class win for a stage. The competition was very steep and I was driving faster than I ever had and staying clean. I also started Saturday with a second place on the first stage before having to retire with electrical issues.
I credit my success to some advice I received from another local rally driver, Nathan Usher. I focused on keeping my lines very clean and being more purposeful with my steering inputs.
Who is your usual co-driver, and when did you two start rallying together?
My current co-driver is Boyd Smith. We met by chance at last year's SOFR after my co-driver fell ill the morning of the race and Boyd offered to jump in the seat. Since then, he's been helping me get faster and faster.
What’s your favorite event on the Rally America schedule?
LSPR. The roads are incredible and I'm 0/2 on finishes so far. In 2016 I stayed up until about 4AM putting a new radiator in. Then we discovered the thermostat was sticking and the only way to keep it open and prevent the motor from overheating was to keep the engine over 4,000 rpm. That pushed me to drive faster than I ever had before. Then, last year, we were fighting fueling issues. The car quit on Friday and we were down on power Saturday. I was third in class before I managed to crack the airbox on a bump and pin the throttle body.
It's also where I met RJ, who has been my crew chief since 2016.
Do you have any pre-event routines?
I learned how to prepare and service a car from crewing for TRF. Before an event, I make sure to put a wrench on every fastener I can see to make sure nothing will shake loose. I also like to take the car for a long cruise around Woodward to make sure everything is working.
Which other drivers in your class do you respect the most?
Michael Hooper, before he moved to G5. When he had his E30, he twice gave me spare parts that kept me from ending a rally early. He also set incredible pace.