Where in the NW are you? Should be a few Rally cars out at Pacific Grand Prix this Sunday.
I have a Merkur, 250lb ft torque, and have not had any CV/ axle issues to date.
Build what you like. FWD/RWD does not make any compettitive difference at the club level. At Mount Hood there were 2 RWD cars in the top 5, out of 17 2wd cars. 13 of those were FWD. Just pick something you can get stuff for like suspension, something strong, and reliable, and go have fun!
Just remember as a NEWB you most build a G2 car for Rally America unless you have much previous racing experience. NASA does not care.
1986 Group5 Merkur XR4Ti
Sean and Jenne Medcroft