As if the stages weren’t tricky enough already, while heading into parc expose on Saturday the weather forecast was calling for three inches of snow transitioning to freezing rain later in the day. While shifting through the pack of rally fans, it became apparent that many cars had experienced minor offs based on the cracked bumpers, dented hoods, and bent fenders. It also appeared that many drivers had switched from tractionized DOT snow tires to the popular dedicated rally snow tire, Yokohama AO34, in anticipation of the expected snow accumulation. It would be anyone’s guess if the snow would actually increase grip or if it would only mask the slippery surface underneath.
The morning stages on Saturday would be a continuation of the Higgins/Drew dominance from the previous day. Stages ten and eleven went off without a hitch, with the #75 car maintaining a nearly five minute lead over second place. The next stage held delays for some competitors when it was put on hold while a rural postal delivery vehicle was allowed to finish its route. There was another pause in the action when a large animal vet was allowed onto a stage to help deliver a baby cow, and again when a local wedding procession caused havoc during a transit. Oh, the unpredictable excitement of rally racing!
A local car accident required the attention of the ambulance standing by on stage 13, which held up the start line until another ambulance could arrive on scene. After much miscommunication, frustration, and no ambulance it was decided to cancel the stage entirely. At this point the rally was nearly five hours behind schedule and the snowfall had accumulated to over six inches. With concerns for stage conditions, ambulance availability, and time constraints it was decided to end the rally after stage 15, eliminating stages 16, 17, and 18 as a result.