Solberg and Giraudet Take Maiden ARA Win at Olympus

Oliver Solberg and Denis Giraudet of Subaru Motorsports USA have won the 2019 DirtFish Olympus Rally.

The pair bested teammates David Higgins and Craig Drew by 25.9 seconds in a heated battle fought throughout the rally’s two days of competition. Piotr Fetela and Dominik Jozwiak maintained their championship lead with a third overall finish.

Oliver Solberg (Tedrick Mealy Photo)

Sunday’s competition just outside of Shelton, Washington saw drivers tackle 62 stage miles split into 4 long rally stages, all over 10 miles in length. The day’s two identical stage loops started with a pass through the 10.2-mile Windy Cougar stage and followed it up by a drive through the Nahwatzel test. Nahwatzel challenged teams with 20.75 miles of former World Rally Championship stage road.

Yesterday’s cold windy conditions were traded for hot, dry, and still air. The result, dust clouds that hung above the stage road in many places restricted visibility for many drivers. A switch from 1 to 2-minute dust windows helped alleviate the visibility issues.

The Overall Top 5:
Solberg and Giraudet started Day 2 of the rally with a 40.4 second advantage over their teammates. But the Subaru Motorsports USA drivers quickly saw their overnight lead shrink to just 15.8 seconds after the day’s first loop, as a hard charging David Higgins and Craig Drew worked to reel in their teammates. The defending ARA champions took 11 seconds back after the day’s first stage and a further 14 on the first pass through the 20.75 mile Nahwatzel stage as Solberg drove his tires down to the chords.

Higgins and Drew continued their push into Sunday’s afternoon stage loop and took a further 2 seconds out of the rally leaders. But with 13.7 seconds to make up and only a single stage to do it on, the defending champions elected to back off and take the points for second place. The win marks Solberg and Giraudet’s first in the American Rally Association and the first win for Subaru Motorsports USA in 2019.

Championship leaders Piotr Fetela and Dominik Jozwiak in their Proto Ford Fiesta continued their fight with McKenna Motorsport drivers Seamus Burke and Martin Brady in their M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 on Sunday. The closely matched teams fought throughout Sunday, but the advantage went the Fetela, and the Fetela Rally Team maintained their third overall finish. Burke and Brady Finished fourth.

Fifth overall were O.D.D. Racing drivers Cameron Steely and Preston Osborn. The pair drove a strong rally after solving the engine issues that plagued their 2007 Subaru WRX STI for several events. Steely and Osborn started Sunday in a fight with Team O’Neil drivers Dave Wallingford and Leanne Junnila, but the battle ended on the second running of Nahwatzel when Wallingford suffered a flat on stage.

Source: FloRacing