Rally America Round 6: The Ojibwe Forests Rally

EMV_4553Dusty. If I could only use one word to describe the conditions around Detroit Lakes, that would be the one.  In an eerily similar course of events to those of the Olympus Rally last season, Ken Block ended up first on the dusty road, kicking up enough dusty dust to cause the rest of the field to only be able to drive at half of their normal undusty speeds. That’s a huge advantage, and frustrating for the rest of the field!

EMV_2249The big news going into Ojibwe was Antoine L’Estage’s new car. He had his old trusty Evo X in Michigan and Missouri, his rented WRC Lancer in Oregon, missed Pennsylvania because of the crash in Oregon, had a Hyundai in Maine, and now…a Subaru in Minnesota. I’m not sure if any driver has had four cars in one season. Maybe it’s a new record. Either way it’s gotta be a serious blow to the Mitsubishi fans, as L’Estage has been the lone Mitsu holdout in an Open Class sea of Subarus.
EMV_2272Dillon Van Way also made the switch to Subaru, going from 2WD to SP in the process. A class change means he’s losing a shot at the championship, but this looks like a move meant to be a head start for next season.
EMV_2318The rest of the top drivers were in more familiar cars. David Higgins was still leading the standings, though Ken Block was closing in fast, having won the previous two rounds.
EMV_2466Enough with the prelude, how about some of that dust?
EMV_2482Maybe it’s not SO bad…yet.
EMV_2714At least by the middle of the pack the cars don’t kick up as much, allowing the cars even further back to keep a more normal pace.
EMV_2770Wong said Minnesota is the most beautifullest place in this world. He might be right.
EMV_2790The Subaru took some getting used to, but DVW said it was awesome.
EMV_2854Dust is an even bigger problem at night. At least there wasn’t fire danger like at Olympus, forcing stages to go way past midnight.
EMV_3497Day two started off not as dusty. Mud is a nice change of pace. Camera gear appreciates it too.
EMV_4299The dust was back soon enough. Luckily for Block, he was still first on the road.
EMV_3803We don’t get to see too many pickups at rallies, but there’s no reason for them not to be there.
EMV_4448The national Rally America cars might be the most advanced, newest, and best set-up, but the regional cars will always have more character and better stories.
EMV_4381DVW got the hang of his new car, enough to finish 2nd in SP. Not bad at all.
EMV_3999Brendan Reeves finished 3rd overall, a little over two minutes ahead of Adam Yeoman.
EMV_4339I bet Yeoman was mad he got beaten by a 2WD car. As they say, “That’s rally!” L’Estage’s Subaru had an electrical problem, so he withdrew after Stage 9.
EMV_4567Higgins lost five and a half minutes behind Block, probably due to the dust.
EMV_4988At the end of it all, Ken Block’s still second to David Higgins in the standings because of his misfortunes in the first two rounds. David Sterckx and Brendan Reeves are in 3rd and 4th, ahead of ACP, though ACP is still leading in 2WD, and Sterckx is leading SP.
There’s only one more round to go, so hang on tight as the Lake Superior Performance Rally should be a good fight between Higgins and Block!
Photos by Wong

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