Jacques wins Bristol Forests Rally
Zachary Jacques and co-driver Ronald Jacques have extended their lead in the ARA East Regional series with a hard-fought victory on the Bristol Forests Rally.
Based in Tennessee, Bristol Forests Rally - running for just the second ever time - made its debut in the ARA and provided thrilling action from start to finish.
In his 2015 Subaru WRX STI, Jacques started the event as the overwhelming favorite and began with intent as he posted the fastest time on the opening stage. But he wasn't to have it easy - Dylan Gondyke in his older Subaru usurped him on SS2 and clung just 0.5 seconds behind Jacques at the first service break of the day.
Kevin Allen, driving a similar car to Gondyke, vaulted into contention on SS5 with a strong 15-second stage win that moved him up into second spot, 1.6s behind Jacques.
The leading trio then took it in turns to grab the overall lead; Gondyke moving to the front after stage six only for Jacques to take the lead back after the seventh test, and then Allen to overhaul them both heading to second and final service with 1.9s in hand over Gondyke and a seven-second advantage over Jacques.
However the final loop belonged to Jacques. Stage wins on Copperhead Road and Holler Puts eleveated him into a strong lead, and despite dropping time on the final test he completed the rally with a 31.2s advantage over Gondyke, with Allen forced to settle for third another 18.6s behind.
With Jacques running an O4WD-spec car though, Gondyke did get the honor of taking the NA4WD honors with his superb performance.
Behind this all-Subaru battle for the podium, Daniel Downey brough his BMW 325 home in fourth place and top of the O2WD class, over three minutes ahead of Adam VanDamme who was sixth overall.
Sandwiched by the two BMWs overall was Jon Schrage in his Subaru Impreza, while Nick Bragg's Audi was a mere 23.7s down on VanDamme in seventh overall.
Nathan Coulter was eighth in his Subaru Legacy, 54.1s clear of James Derek who rounded out the O2WD podium in his Ford Fiesta R2 US Kit.
Tom Mayer rounded out the overall top 10 in his Impreza en route to the L4WD class win. Matt McGee took L2WD honors in his Volkswagen Golf and sealed 11th spot overall.
Photography by Kou Vang