Subaru Rally Team Canada will no longer compete in the Canadian Rally Championship, according to a CRC press release posted on Facebook Tuesday.
While Subaru Canada has withdrawn from competition, it is redoubling its efforts to support all rally competitors who race a Subaru in Canada. Starting next year, any registered Subaru participants in a contingency program will be eligible for payouts for simply starting a national CRC event. Additional payouts will also be awarded for the top six Subaru finishers in every CRC event regardless of their overall finish, as well as every Subaru that finishes in the top six overall. Subaru Canada will also provide payouts at the conclusion of the 2018 CRC season for the top Subaru drivers. This program is open to all Subaru entries regardless of home country, so American competitors are welcome to enter Canadian events to earn a piece of the pie.
I hate doing the “tease an article here to make you go read it over there” thing, but The Drive owns exclusive rights to this for 30 days and I want to get the word out. It’s a bold move, dismantling a successful works program to redirect that funding toward more grassroots support, with contingencies and rebates for Subaru drivers. I feel bad for Antoine L’Estage, who only just got a factory ride in 2015 after years of hard work. But many more grassroots competitors will benefit from this.
As much as I like and respect David Higgins and Travis Pastrana, it makes me wonder whether SRT USA should consider a similar move with their stage rally program. In fact, not only could they keep their Red Bull GRC program, but direct even more effort toward knocking those VWs off the podium more often.
As far as stage rally is concerned, even if it’s not Higgins or Pastrana on the podium, with support like Canada’s providing north of the border, there’s a pretty good chance we’d still see Subarus winning rallies without those guys.