Peter Fetela and Dominic Jozwiak were holding steady in fourth place for much of the morning until Yeoman/Schulze dropped out, bumping the Open class ’98 Impreza STi up to third place with a time of 57:33.2, roughly eight minutes behind first place.
Garry Gill and Stephen Kurey would finish Friday’s stages in first place for Super Production and eighth place overall with a time of 1:03:42.4.
A battle in Super Production between the Subaru STi’s of Nick Roberts and Lauchlin O’Sullivan, with their stage one times being only a couple of seconds apart. Unfortunately both would suffer issues on stage two that would prevent them from finishing the day’s stages. This was the first time Roberts has competed with his new chassis, and was plagued by electronic throttle issues caused by parts that were swapped over from the old chassis.
The closest competition on Friday was in the 2WD class between the Ford Fiestas of Troy Miller/Steven Harrell and Cameron Steely/Preston Osborn. Throughout the day the two kept switching positions, and were only seconds apart all the while. Finishing Friday’s stages Miller and his Fiesta R2 were leading by a mere 1.4 seconds with a total time of 59:23.1, good enough for fifth place overall.
The Ford Racing Fiesta ST of Andrew Comrie-Picard and Ole Holter showed strong ambitions in the 2WD drive finishing stage one, but they would be set back significantly on stage two. They went wide into a corner and struck a solid piece of debris hidden in the snow, resulting in no damage aside from a broken tie rod. After changing the tie rod on stage, they finished approximately twenty minutes off the class leading pace with a time of 28:31.0. The duo pushed hard for the rest of the day, but they were still about eighteen minutes behind Miller after stage nine.
Proving that more power isn’t always better when traction is limited, the Open Light Impreza of Justin Pritchard and Ryan Scott took the overall regional win for both days.
At the end of Friday the top five finishers were Higgins, Sterckx, Fetela, Kelly, and Steely. Throughout the day traction was consistently inconsistent due to the varying surfaces of ice, snow, mud, and gravel. As stages were rerun during the night, there was no rhythm or confidence for the drivers as the icy sections had become highly polished by the previous traffic. With such awful stage conditions and no snow banks for protection few were pushing to take risks. Many drivers were saying it was the worst conditions they had ever raced in.