Rally America: Round 8 – Lake Superior Performance Rally


Chicago native and relatively recent competitor to regional Super Production, Tomas Solnicky, had a clean weekend and finished 16th and 10th respectively in the overall regional standings. With this being his first season in stage rally, his current goal is to simply get more seat time to build up his speed and confidence. Depending on potential sponsorship opportunities, he would like to enter national competition in Super Production. He’ll be finishing off this year at the regional Nemadji Trail Rally in Minnesota on December 5th.
Dismal skies and temperatures around freezing wouldn’t dissuade the masses of fans from coming out to watch as Dylan Helferich and Drake Dunigan of Relentless Rally Team pitched it sideways through the first stage. Dylan is actually the reason I ever started attending rallies. I met him back in 2013 while we were supporting Lovefab’s Enviate at Pikes Peak, he invited to watch him race at LSPR that year and it's been downhill ever since…
Wisconsin natives Erik Hill and Erica Meier were tearing it up all weekend in Erik's 2001 Ford Focus. The duo would take the regional 2WD class win on Friday's Ottawa Rally. They've been battling Ian Topping all season and were really hoping to put him on his heels at this event. Saturday they were poised to give it all they had in order to take the win again, but after getting stuck in the mud for a minute on the first stage and then getting a flat halfway through stage three, they were down to sixth in class. They did the math and realized they were only a minute off of second place. For the rest of the day they would put the pedal down to try and regain lost time. They managed to claw back a full minute and moved up four spots to secure their second place finish behind Ian's Volvo.
Open Light competition is some of my favorite. It's not the fastest class out there, you won’t hear any anti-lag or intoxicating turbo noises, but it’s one of the largest fields and has some of the closest battles. The cars are prepped for safety, durability, and handing which makes it one of the most interesting classes to watch as well as the most accessible for new competitors.
Higgins and Drew were leading FY Racing’s duo of Yeoman and Schulze by about 21 seconds coming into the first service on Friday.  Overall, the service seemed to be fairly relaxed without much hustle and bustle for the majority of crews and competitors.
This diminutive Mitsubishi Mirage RS of Arek Gruszka is probably one of the most unique vehicles running in the Rally America series at the moment. The lightweight, AWD converted, short wheelbase body houses a 4B11 engine out of an Evo X and sequential 6-speed transmission which gives it a similar look and feel to the Mitsubishi R5s that you might see in the WRC. Not surprisingly, Arek used to compete in an Evo X.

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