Thursday, June 28, 2007


The fourth round of the Detroit SCCA Rallycross Championship, presented by Team Illuminata Motorsport, had been long anticipated. Sitting in fourth place in the championship the Alba Rallysport team was desperately needing points to move up the standings and it was on June 23rd that the team was awarded their first PA class win of the season, finally!
The 2007 season has been a tough battle so far and I can’t imagine that it’s going to get much easier what with the level of talent in the rally prepared AWD class. This is a class owned by Subaru and despite Sti drivers Justin (#77) and Dan (#177) being absent on the day Jennifer (#64) and Dmitriy (#42) were up for a fight to the bitter end. It was a warm, sunny day and the track had recently been graded with new gravel. With 8 runs and arguably the best course Scott Harvey Jr. has designed to date we were hungry for points and, plenty of sideways action. Run 1 felt great. I’m still trying to figure out where the 0.199 penalty came from but it had been a long, rough week and even at 11am I wasn’t quite awake. The Impreza RS twins of Jennifer and Dmitriy had clean runs. We clearly had to get our act together, and fast. We improved on run 2 but picked up a cone penalty. Car #42 caught a couple of cones also so we were in good shape. Lucky. Come on, take it easy and keep it clean my co-driver reminded me. Run 3 felt fantastic, clean and it was to be the fastest time of the morning session. Run 4, we just got down to business. Our times weren’t ideal but were becoming consistent, our primary goal this season. We went into the lunch break somewhat relieved. The course was reversed for the afternoon session where we had the option to go either left or right at the final hairpin. We spent some time watching the first cars out and argued the merits of each direction until finally the co-driver won suggesting we stay left to carry maximum speed into the turn. Drivers, always listen to your co-driver! We went flat out, pushing every bit of the way with run 5 matching the time to the thousandth of the previous run. Incredible. Dmitriy had an unlucky off, which resulted in a DNF, a 150% time penalty, and a battle scarred Impreza. On run 6 we almost had a major incident when we entered the infield section of the course far too fast and as the car over rotated for a moment I thought we were going to catch a rut on the left side and put it up on two wheels. Amazingly we kept the rubber side down and missed every single cone, managing a quick 360 to make it back through the gate. Our time was slower but clean. We were very lucky! The last two runs of the day were smooth and clean and oh so enjoyable! Run 8 was to be our fastest of the day at 0.899m and netted us the Primitive FTD Challenge win in addition to 20 championship points that moves us into 2nd place. Brilliant!
Considering the wide, open course favoured the turbo power of the Alba Rallysport WRX over the normally aspirated cars it was a great competition were everyone drove 110%. What more could you ask for?
Photos by Team Illuminata Motorsport

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pre-summer testing

With nearly a 2-month break between events 3 & 4 the Alba Rallysport team were getting restless.
As with any motorsport it’s important to keep practicing. The key is seat time and some more seat time and when you think you’ve had enough, more seat time. There are very few things more important. To this end we headed to a local undisclosed location, owned by rally friend Mark Buskirk, where we carved out a short course for some training. The course was similar in length to what we’re used to but with a rough, grassy surface, similar to Coultard’s Farm for those who have competed there. We combined straights, long sweeping turns, slaloms and a hairpin that was extremely challenging; particularly for one vehicle that evening, a Jeep Cherokee that popped a tyre off the rim!

All in all it was a beneficial exercise with the added pleasure of receiving a few tips from stage rally driver Colin McCleery as he rode along with us.
Colin will be competing in the 2007 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb next mo
nth sporting new colours in his freshly re-built Ford XR8. John Atsma will be in the silly seat carrying out co-driving duties.
In addition to the driver training we also tested some new parts that were provided by Paul at Team Illuminata Motorsports. The anodized red aluminum Group A rear sway bar links not only look great but held up to the abuse of the bumpy twisty course providing improved rear end rotation compared to the stock plastic units.
See you on the gravel at Fowlerville!