Ziptie Rally Team (ZRT) went into the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood coming off a strong showing at Sno*Drift (including a podium finish in open class). This was to be ZRT's first gravel rally in the new open class car and the team was very excited to test out the car's abilities.
The trip started off on a bad note when the entire exhaust was torn off the car loading it onto the trailer. We later discovered that this was because we had smaller tires on the car than normal which reduced our ground clearance. We also had an extra 8 rally tires loaded in the truck (for a total of 12 wheels and 16 tires) which lowered the trailer tongue. Luckily it was fixable although unpleasant due to the very cold weather.
We left Golden Valley at 3am Thursday morning for the long and boring drive straight south to Salem, MO. Along for the trip were crew members Matt (chux) Alexander, Martin (dynapar) Asao, Andrew (sniper1rfa) Browning, and Tim (the plumber) Anderson.
Once we made it into MO, and found that the weather would hold we decided to remove one set of snow tires and put on extra gravels. I had learned from a local contact that the firestone in Rolla could do rally tires so we dropped a set of team dynamics and hankook G51s off for them to mount while we went into Salem to register and tech.
Tech and registration went smoothly and we checked into our motel, the Walnut. Several other teams were at the Walnut plus the headquarters hotel was across the street so the night was filled with the sound of rally cars being revved on jackstands. And ricer pick-up truck flybys.
Friday morning started with a trip out to the shakedown stage. As we pulled into our makeshift service spot the car died. It was having idle issues where coming up to a complete stop, clutch in the revs would drop really low (sometimes dying) before coming back up to where we had it set at 1000rpms. We talked with Whiskers (Graham Evans) who supports our team, Dillon Van Way and Mason Moyle and decided to just run the stage to see what would happen. The car ran fine on the stage - it was stupid fast! Dave and I had never really tested the car on gravel once it was upped to open class and we couldn't believe how fast it was! We did hit our first low water bridge (lwb) too hard and ended up sanding off the skidplate bolt heads.
standing around wondering wtf is wrong with the idle
Along the way Martin had purchased a trunk monkey. Poor guy didn't know what was about to happen.
After the practice stage we traveled to Steelville to set-up service and parc expose. We got their early and while inspecting the car found our bov to be leaking terribly - this is probably where our idle issue was coming from. We greased it up and hoped for the best (it still leaked a bit)
We made the last minute decision to put our lights on during parc expose - that turned out to be a smart choice.
Then we were off to run the first half of friday's stages. Things went well, we didn't have any problems and were laying down some fast times. When we came into friday service we were 4th in class and 5th overall out of 17 regional cars.
Night service was relatively uneventful, we broke the exhaust again but the guys fixed it quickly. They are sort of pro, like swap a transmission in 15 minutes pro.
We left for RGC, fuel depot and the final two stages. The last stage gave us some problems and we lost a lot of time - Dave got off in the notes for the first mile and then we got stuck behind an EVO on the last 2 or 3 miles. The dust cloud was so bad I had to reduce speed by 50% on some corners. Even so we finished Friday's Regional Rally 2nd in class and 3rd Overall
Saturday started bright and early and we were off to 9am parc expose in downtown salem.
The trunk monkey was still hanging on!
parc expose ended and we were off!
The first part of the day continued to go well. We were laying down fast times again and with John Cassidy and Chris Greenhouse back in the race after they both dnf'd day 1 we had some stiff competition!
First service was uneventful, we fueled and headed off for a short stage and then another parc expose at the super special in potosi. The SSS was kinda fun - we got to see the top cars run, man that fiesta really scoots! It sucked to see Travis lose the rally on the SSS... you probably can't win a rally on the SSS but you can sure lose one!
We transited a very long way from the SSS to stage 11. When we pulled up outside of ATC I looked in the rear view mirror and all I could see was FIRE! Dave and I jumped out with fire extinguishers but the fire went away when the car was shut off. The bumper cover was touching the cat which was glowing red hot so dave cut some it off. At this point we noticed our rear diff plate had broken off and was hanging. We didn't have enough time to do anything with it so we said, f it and jumped in the car. As we traveled down the stage I noticed that the car was running rough, we were losing power and consuming a ton of fuel. We made it to the end - once past FTC we jumped out to look over the car. As soon as we opened the hood we realized the car was ON FIRE AGAIN. Dave put the fire out, we tried to start it, it instantly shot a foot long flame out the manifold collector and we decided our day was definitely done. Even with our problems on SS11 our stage time was 4th fastest in regionals - we were well on track to another strong finish until we retired.
Then we played the waiting game. SS11 turned out to be really far from anything. Our crew had to drive over an hour to retrieve us. In the meantime we got flat towed to the main road by an FXT and waited. And then a black cat showed up. And another. And another. And then a grey one. So it was Dave, myself and 4 cats lol.
Our crew showed up, we loaded the car, traveled back to salem and then to awards. - that was a long day!
broken skidplate is broken
the melty spot is where fire shot out
attacking a spectator point day 2
smoking header after hitting a deep water crossing day 2
carrying aggressive speed into a R2 spectator corner
after hitting a cattle guard jump day 1
night stage day 1
trunk monkey hanging on for the ride
fast up hill section day 2
tricky corner day 1
highlight in car video
video featuring some good footage of our car by Matt Conte
Edited by Numbchux, 06 March 2010 - 01:08 PM.