At the 2010 running of the Prescott Rally, east coast teams met with west coast teams for a showdown that would determine who would take top honors in the United States Rally Championship (USRC). Keith Jackson and Marra Estep were defending their title as USRC 2009 Open AWD class champions as they attacked the narrow, winding stages that worked their way up and down the mountains near Prescott, Arizona. The DIRT / Jackson Rally 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STi had been meticulously prepared for this final event.

Periods of lightning and heavy rain doused the cars and competitors at the Parc Expose, but spirits were high as racing started on Friday October 1st only hours after recce was completed. Keith got off to a very strong start with a stage win on the first stage of the rally. The sun set and dark began to set in on stage 2. Driving lights blazing, he and Marra managed to keep things very close with the other championship front runners. It wasn’t until the third stage (Witty Tom South) when the rally gods stepped in to make things more difficult.

This particular stage of the rally had several rock filled dips which could wreak havoc on a car’s suspension and tires. A puncture on Stage 3 in one of these dips found the team playing catch up for the remainder of the event. The competition was so close between the podium contenders that this kind of setback would be extremely tough to recover from.

“The first thing that went through my head was ‘No!!!’. We actually hit pretty hard and I thought there was more damage to the car beyond a puncture. I knew the event was going to be very difficult to win, and this was devastating” recalls a disappointed Keith.

The second day of competition was in daylight, and the weather was pleasant. Even with time being shaved off the leaders on each stage, it was not enough to regain the first place spot from Tom Lawless. Keith and Marra put in an amazing hustle to make up the deficit but it was simply too much time to reclaim. Keith managed to finish 4th overall for this rally, which secured a 2nd place spot for the championship. Marra Estep was able to claim the first place co-driver spot by totaling the most points throughout the season!

In retrospect, a flat tire was much better than a race ending off. This was the case last year when the team was unable to continue after damage was sustained to the front and rear suspension.

“All in all, I think we did pretty well making up time and we kept it on the road this year!” mentioned Marra.

The service crew had only basic tasks to perform during service breaks, as the Subaru was performing flawlessly. Fortunately, there was no damage inflicted to the car on any of the final stages of day two and it left Prescott in good condition ready for more rallies in 2011.

The DIRT and crew would like to thank all the volunteers and organizers for putting on an amazing event. Without them we would not have a rally to participate in. These men and women work hard in challenging and difficult conditions to make this possible for guys like us. If you have a chance to volunteer at a local rally event, take advantage of it. Not only will you be supporting your local rally scene, but you’ll be up close to the action!

Photos by Phil Stewart-Jones & Eli Gilbert

About DirtyImpreza.com:
Based out of Aliso Viejo, CA., DirtyImpreza.com is the fastest growing Subaru Impreza specific off-road and rally website in North America. The DirtyImpreza.com Rally Team (DIRT) is involved in grassroots racing from rally cross to stage rally competition. For more information about DirtyImpreza.com and DIRT, visit DirtyImpreza.com or email [email protected]

About JacksonRally:
Located in Temecula, CA, JacksonRally has been in the fabrication business for over 10 years with the last 3 years specializing in building and racing rally cars. JacksonRally has a strong passion for off-road Subarus from its very own Rally Team to the infamous “Battle Wagon”, for more information about JacksonRally, please email us at [email protected]

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