Hanson Leads Sno*Drift After Dramatic Day One

Travis and Terry Hanson lead the 2011 Sno*Drift Rally with a powerful four minute advantage going into the overnight halt. Hanson drove his Super Production class 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STi flawlessly on the opening day of the rally, capitalizing on the early retirements of leading drivers Antoine L’Estage and David Higgins.

Hanson is trailed by Rally America’s 2010 Rookie of the Year, Joseph Burke, who holds second overall in an Open class Mitsubishi with 9.1 seconds over Ark Gruszka, also in a Mitsubishi. Hanson leads the Super Production field by five minutes over SP drivers Roman Pakos and Jimmy Keeney, who are only seven seconds apart.

The first day of the Rally America Championship season opener held in Northern Michigan was filled with drama as 45 crews took to 59.24 competitive miles of frozen gravel roads covered in snow and ice. Defending 2010 Rally America Champion Antoine L’Estage lead the rally until he went off on SS4 and was forced to retire due to overheating issues resulting from the crash. L’Estage won the first three stages of the day before his DNF and held a 20 second lead over Subaru Rally Team USA’s new addition, David Higgins.

Higgins was ahead of Hanson by over two minutes when he took control of the lead, but was forced to retire when his car’s engine failed three quarters of the way into SS6. Both Higgins and L’Estage will now head into the second round of the Championship without any points, making an overall win at 100 Acre Wood even more significant for both crews.

Higgins’ SRT USA teammate Dave Mirra was also unable to escape the day’s drama, dropping from second to fifth overall after a puncture on the final stage diminished his lead over Joseph Burke. Mirra is expected to make up time on Saturday’s stages and is still within contention for a podium finish.

In two-wheel-drive, Dillon Van Way’s strategy of driving a steady, clean rally paid off when he finished the day about six minutes ahead of Sno* Regional Rally Group 2 class winner Chris Greenhouse. Van Way’s careful approach leaves him ninth overall overnight and put him in an ideal position to win 2WD on his maiden voyage with the new Ford Racing Fiesta R2. To Van Way’s benefit, Wyatt Knox had a puncture on SS6 and Chris Duplessis had a puncture on SS7, dropping them both several positions on the board. Duplessis had been in sixth position overall before his flat. Nick Allen and Ashley Meadows hold third place in 2WD, a minute behind Greenhouse.

Henry and Cynthia Krolikowski won Friday’s Sno* Regional Rally with a commanding lead of 1 minute 50 seconds over Pete Hascher and Scott McGill. Tim and Christina Smigowski round out the regional podium, finishing ahead of Chris Greenhouse and co-driver Phil Marsh.

The rally continues on Saturday with Parc Expose in downtown Atlanta, MI from 7:30 to 9:30am Eastern. First car out is at 9:01 and first out on stage is at 9:34 with eleven stages remaining, including two passes on the Super Special Stage.

FULL RESULTS: rally-america.com/events/2011/SNODRIFT/results/standings

SCHEDULE: www.rally-america.com/events/2011/SNODRIFT/schedule

VIDEOS: rally-america.com/events/2011/SNODRIFT/gallery

LIVE UPDATES: www.rally-america.com/events/2011/SNODRIFT/news/liveupdates

TWITTER: twitter.com/RallyCar_Series

source http://rally-america.com/

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