Published on July 2nd, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Subaru Driver David Higgins Breaks Course Record Again at Legendary Mt. Washington Hillclimb
Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins is “King of the Hill” at the 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb, breaking his own course record set in 2011 by over two seconds. At the wheel of a Vermont SportsCar-prepared 2014 Subaru WRX STI, Higgins set a blistering new record time of 6 minutes and 9.09 seconds on New Hampshire’s sinuous 7.6 mile Mt. Washington Auto Road. Higgins’ teammate Travis Pastrana, with co-driver Chrissie Beavis, made it a Subaru one-two by finishing a close 2nd Overall just three seconds behind Higgins’ new record.
Higgins and Pastrana also finished one-two in the Rally America Championship portion of the event, which scored drivers based on their cumulative time across the four half-course practice runs and two full course runs. The victory, Higgins’ fourth this season, extends his lead in the 2014 Rally America Championship where he is aiming for his fourth consecutive Driver’s Title.
“It was a great event and we put in a big effort for those few seconds,” explained Higgins. “There is so much history here and it’s great to be a part of it again for Subaru. This was a big challenge this weekend as we had Pastrana and our old record staring us down. But Craig (Drew) was perfect on the notes and Subaru gave me a car that was perfect.”
Higgins teammate Travis Pastrana, driving an identically prepared Subaru, was able to bounce back from several setbacks at the event. On his second top-half run he clipped a rock on an inside corner puncturing his tire and subsequently losing time to Higgins. Then on Sunday his first full-course run was slowed by a loss of boost pressure which was subsequently fixed by his team mechanics ahead of his second full course run. Pastrana’s final run up the mountain was trouble free but was just seconds off of Higgins record pace, eventually finishing with a time of 6 minutes and 12.29 seconds.
“We knew it was going to be tough to catch David here,” said Travis Pastrana at the podium celebration. “It’s great for the team to go one-two and lower the record again. It was a close fight on that final run and our Subaru was just a blast to drive here.”
Prior to the event Higgins felt his chances at a new record were out of reach due to the more restrictive rules of the Rally America Open Class compared to that of the Hillclimb’s own Open class, in which he entered and broke the record in 2011. The more restrictive rules meant that the 2014 Subaru WRX STI Higgins drove this year was equipped with almost 100 less horsepower while being 500lbs heavier than his 2011 record-breaking car. However, 160 of those pounds come via his co-driver Craig Drew sitting beside him this year. Higgins ran without a co-driver in 2011 and needed to drive the road from memory at the time. The addition of a co-driver in 2014 enabled Higgins to go flat-out with confidence.
“After our splits on the lower half practice runs were a bit slower than the record pace I was definitely thinking the record was out of reach,” explained Higgins. “We had more weight and less power this time but our Subaru really excelled on the top-half of the course which has the dirt section and some very technical parts. Our speed there is what helped us surpass the record.”