Despain Gains 20 Positions to Win Rally Colorado
Photography via: Rupert Berrington
One of the most anticipated events in the American Rally Association Regional West Championship is Rally Colorado and it was Jacob Despain who conquered this year's edition in his Subaru Impreza. Taking place in Rangely, Colorado, the two day event this year welcomed 28 competitors to take to the stages, and the excitement and beauty of the area did not disappoint. Chris and Lori O’Driscoll looked to be the runaway winners of the rally after day one. The duo had pulled a two minute lead on their nearest competition, Jacob and Michael Despain, despite a bad start to the rally, with an issue leading to a more than three minute deficit and just 20th overall.
Working their way through the rest of the day’s five stages, the Despains found themselves all the way back up in second leading into the rougher Sunday stages. Saturday saw a lot of battling for the top three as well, with Scott Crouch, Tim Wickberg, Chris Miller and Krishna Ghandi all also spending time in the podium positions. Sunday, however, things settled quite a bit. Chris O’Driscoll and Despain in first and second were joined by the team of Alex Chadney and Bryce Proseus, and the trio of Subarus held on to the top three in that order for most of the day, until a mechanical retirement for O’Driscoll put Despain in the lead, which he held by a comfortable margin the rest of the day to take the rally win.
Alex Chadney finished second in the rally a bit over two minutes back from the Despain duo. The final podium finishers, Krishna Ghandi and Jake Baxter, were close to another two and a half minutes back, making for an all Subaru GC podium on Rally Colorado. The trio also took the NA4WD podium after trading top three positions the entire rally, while fourth in class and overall went to David Peretz and Aron Cohen, competing in their first rally of the year. Fifth place went to O2WD winners Fred Hatch and Alex Grabow. The duo and their Ford Fiesta started off in an extremely tight battle with the Ford Focus of Chris Miller and Fiesta of Julien Sebot, with just 20 seconds separating the three after two stages. Unfortunately, a mechanical issue for Miller, and a wheel coming off of Sebot’s car took the two out of the battle, but let Hatch build a comfortable lead. Sixth overall went to the Subaru BRZ of Scott McCarty and Steve Bis, as did first in the L2WD class. McCarty’s main competition also came in the form of a BRZ driven by Tim Wickberg and Matthew Trott, and while Wickberg was able to win most of the stages, an issue on SS7 gave them over 20 minutes of a deficit, taking them out of the podium. Jonathan Compton and Brie Moore were able to fill second on the L2WD podium, as well as 10th overall, while the L2WD podium was completed by Paul Dickinson. The lone L4WD finisher was the 1998 WRX of Eric Genack and Boyd Smith, while taking the top spot over the three non-finishers in class, Genack also finished seventh overall. Finally, the O4WD class was taken by the Ditch Please Racing Konsoritum, headed by driver Jacob Sturgeon and navigator Maribel Plaza. The duo were able to repeat their class win from last year, as well as finish eighth overall, a four position improvement on 2021’s attempt. Scott Crouch had led the class until an issue on SS4 put him over 20 minutes back on Sturgeon. While Crouch was able to take back second from Arto and Mary Ylinkangas, Sturgeon was too far ahead, and Crouch landed second on the podium, while DPRK took top spot, and the Ylinkangas’ took third.