Rally America heads to Oregon Trail Rally in May

Much like the Oregon Trail pioneers, the 2012 Rally America National Championship will travel west to the Oregon Trail Rally for the third installment of the six-event National Championship on May 4-6th, 2012 in Portland, OR.

The Oregon Trail Rally powered by Dick Hannah Subaru begins at Portland International Raceway on Friday, May 4th before moving for the rest of the weekend to the fast gravel stages under the formidable Mt. Hood along the Columbia River Gorge.

The Oregon Trail Rally features top national and international teams mixed with the best from the Pacific Northwest.

Last year’s Oregon Trail Rally winners, Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew, seek to extend their National Championship points lead at Oregon after winning the Sno*Drift and taking second overall at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood.

If Higgins wins the Oregon Trail Rally he will open a sizeable lead over his closest Open Class rival, the Rockstar Energy Drink Team of Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, who unfortunately missed points when they failed to finish the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood. L’Estage needs a win at Oregon to keep pressure on Higgins.

2011 Super Production Class winners, Travis and Terry Hanson, hold the second overall spot, but are tied for 1st in class with Lauchlin O’Sullivan and Scott Putnam.

Both teams have experienced difficulties the last few events, but the Oregon Trail Rally is closer to O’Sullivan’s home in San Francisco, CA, where driver Travis Hanson is not expected to make the trip across the country from his home in Woodsville, NH. O’Sullivan is a favorite to win Oregon and the Hansons expect to resume their title defense at the STPR Rally in Wellsboro, PA on June 1-2.

Chris Duplessis has controlled the 2WD Class in his Ford Fiesta R2 this year and currently holds a 10-point advantage over Scion xD driver Andrew Comrie-Picard.

However, Duplessis faces a new international challenger when the Australian-based Summit Rally team arrives with a pair of 400hp Nissan Silvias piloted by Will Orders and Ross Allan in an attempt to topple Duplessis’ dominance. Duplessis is up to the task as the American has been perfecting his skills facing the world’s top 2WD drivers at the WRC Academy.

The Oregon Trail Rally will once again take over Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, OR with a car display Thursday, May 3rd beginning at 11:00am PT where fans can view the rally cars and meet the drivers in this fun and free event.

On Friday, May 4th, the competition’s first four exciting stages take place at Portland International Raceway located just outside Portland’s city limits at 5:00pm PT. $10 tickets are available at the PIR box office. Children under 12 with an adult get in free.

On Saturday and Sunday the competition moves to The Dalles and Dufur, OR, where teams face challenging gravel roads surrounding Mt. Hood. The roads are fast and pitted with sharp rocks that can keep a service crew busy with repairs.

Fans who cannot attend in person can catch some live event streaming and video recaps, as well as regularly updated stage times and results, at Rally-America.com.

For a complete schedule of the event, please visit www.Rally-America.com. A spectator guide with driving instructions to viewing areas will be available on the website soon.