Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Down to business

The second round of the Detroit SCCA Rallycross Championship, presented by Team Illuminata Motorsport, couldn’t come soon enough for the Alba Rallysport team. It had been 6 weeks since the last event due to a weather induced postponement and the team was eager to get back on the dirt and fight for points. The weather forecast did not look promising for Fowlerville Fairgrounds, MI on Saturday March 31st. Luckily, nothing came of the 30% chance of afternoon rain on the day and the competitors welcomed the dry, dusty and very fast conditions after the snow and ice the previous month. We went into the event hopeful of collecting badly needed championship points but it wasn’t going to be easy. PA class again had a record number of entries, 10 in all, and it was great to see some new faces join us in the fun. 7 runs were planned for the day with 3 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. We had no option but maximum attack. After a brisk course walk there were a couple of chicanes that we took note of but after the first run of the day we realized just how fast the course actually was.
We came out of the start gate like a bat out of hell and once the times were in we realized how fast we were! Even though we took a cone penalty it was a good start. We just had to keep it together and fend off the Sti of Kollien and Garant. We calmed the speed a little on the second run to reduce the risk of over driving but the first run must have woken the two Sti drivers who were almost neck and neck, a good 4 seconds faster than us due to our cone penalty. We had to act and on run 3 we stole some time from the #177 car but it wasn’t enough and we went into the lunch break in 3rd place. On run 4 after lunch we came out fighting, perhaps a little too hard, taking our third cone penalty and a good 3 seconds off the pace of Kollien who was increasingly faster. Run 5 was clean and quick…it felt quick; as we came across the finish line more than a little sideways we were laughing our heads off. We were having a lot of fun and that run put a good dent in the gap between us, and the #177 car of Garant, who picked up a cone penalty. We gained 4 seconds back but it wasn’t enough to catch the #77 car driven by Kollien who was on fire. Not literally.
We made a small error on run 6, just clipping our fourth cone, although still 1/3 of a second quicker than the #177 car. 1st place was untouchable; we had to fight for 2nd. Kollien pulled more time out of nowhere to take FTD (fastest time of the day) beating us by just 0.72 seconds on the final run. We made it, 2nd place and badly needed 15 points. There were just 1.26 seconds separating Garant and us overall in one heck of a 7 run rallycross battle.

Photos by Nate VanderVeen

No comments: