Through the first day of the rally, five drivers were all within 30 seconds of one another, with Higgins closing out Friday’s five stages at third overall. The first pass at Aziscohos on Saturday would begin to reshape the weekend, with Higgins taking his first stage win as a puncture for teammate Barry McKenna and a drivetrain failure for Ken Block removed both crews from contention. Higgins would continue to drive a consistent pace, winning the first pass at Morton Cutoff and sweeping Aziscohos, to be just nine seconds out of the lead with two stages remaining.
The second pass at Morton Cutoff was where everything changed. Overall leader Travis Pastrana would suffer a rollover not far from the end of the stage, with the crew walking away unhurt but nonetheless giving up the top spot. Higgins would then finish up the event with a final stage victory at North Road, and the comeback win was complete.
Notably, the rally was Higgins’ first event since suffering a major leg injury. It also gave him six victories and 11 podiums at NEFR since the rally made its summer debut in 1994, including wins in the past three instances of the event. Higgins took his fourth and fifth NEFR titles in 2018 and 2019, respectively, while the 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.