Leader Barry McKenna is improving on his lightning fast pace after 13 stages of the Sno*Drift rally in Atlanta, Michigan, the 2020 American Rally Association opener.
Despite the snow turning into a mix of ice and slush on the stages, and later covered in rain, top drivers have mostly maintained their positions and are running similar to how they were on Friday’s night stages as the event heads into its final loop.
After opening up a two and half minute lead, McKenna is confidently running ahead of the rest of the field.
McKenna’s co-driver, James Fulton, shared McKenna’s mindset looking at the sizable gap they’ve opened up over the rest of the field.
“We have a hefty lead, we’re just trying to maintain it,” said Fulton. “Nothing silly.”
Nearest rival Piotr Fetela was ready to go with some changes for Saturday’s rallying. He and his team decided to switch to a different set of tires, which left Fetela more confident going into the day.
He is now over four minutes behind McKenna but has a similar margin over third-placed Zachary Jacques, who heads a much closer battle in the combined times – though as it features a mix of National and Regional Class runners, Jacques is in a more comfortable position in his own class rankings.
Regional Class Subaru driver Jimmy Pelizzari is maintaining his quick pace from Friday in fourth place overall. Bar a few areas where slush has set in and the road is going away, he remains confident in his abilities and his strategy as he leads his category and holds an overall time just 11 seconds behind Jacques.
“We kinda just stick with what we got, and make it work,” Pelizzari said. “Try to go as fast as we can.”
Jon Kramer overhauled Blake Lind during the first part of Saturday’s leg to move into fifth in his 2001 Subaru Impreza.
Kramer has been relaxed all weekend and it’s clearly paying off.
“I don’t like to know where I’m at, I don’t like to change a thing, I’m just going to drive my own attack,” said Kramer.
Kramer’s car is still new to him, but it’s worked well so far this weekend and he runs second in the regional category and fifth overall.
One notable change in the entry since Friday is the inclusion of Ryan Booth’s McKenna Motorsports Ford Fiesta.
After not being able to run the Friday night stages Booth stepped into the car unsure of how the conditions would treat him.
But Booth didn’t run too far off pace through most of the stages – despite getting caught in a snowbank on stage eight and getting to his first service 30 minutes late.
Even though Booth won’t be able to compete for the win in the rally, he’s excited just to run.
“It feels good to get some good seat time here,” said Booth.
Drivers have now turned their full attention to the final set of stages – ending with Bonfire Alley, a stage lined with bonfires by the spectators.
“I’m always happy, there’s always a lot of people there,” said second-placed Fetela.
Bonfire Alley will be what makes or breaks the rally for the competitors, and it will all go down in just a matter of hours.
Leading positions after SS13
1 McKenna (Ford)
2 Fetela (Ford) +4m16.2s
3 Jacques (Subaru) +8m03.8s
4 Pelizzari (Subaru) +8m14.5s
5 Kramer (Subaru) +9m01s