Professional rally teams are few in number in North America, where the new-for-2017 American Rally Association (ARA) National Championship and the long-established Canadian Rally Championship (CRC) run open classes alongside production-based machinery.
The result is a diverse field of cars – classic and modern, 2WD and 4WD – that helps to keep fields healthy and the competition interesting. Further diversity stems from the geography: Vancouver to Montreal is nearly 3000 miles by road, for example - about a 48-hour drive. Few teams have the logistical budget to compete nationwide, so many competitors stick to clusters of rallies on the east and west coasts, north and south of the border.
A west-coast rally regular is Dave Clark, a dentist in Washington state who campaigns a tail-happy 1989 Merkur XR4Ti that was built by a mechanic friend, Sean Medcroft. As the name suggests, the Merkur is a version of the Ford Sierra that was built by Karmann in Germany and sold in North America in the late 1980s.