Friday, December 12, 2008

2009 Schedule Released!

Stay tuned for updates and photos throughout the winter season.
Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay from Alba Rallysport!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2008 Season

January - The WRX went under the knife and began it's transformation from street car to stage rally machine. March - The chassis was completed and the build continued...
May - Final touches were made to the car at Rally Tennessee and we took 2nd in class and 8th overall on this fast and twisty tarmac rally. Not bad for the car's first event.

June/July - The car was prepared for gravel events and tested.

August - To finish first, first you must finish. Rally West Virginia was a rally of attrition. We hung in there and finished 1st in class and 5th overall.
The car was on display at Delta Subaru during the 4th annual 28th Street Metro Cruise.
September - We worked controls at the POR rally in Michigan then stuffed the car off the road whilst sitting in 2nd overall at Black River Stages in New York. Despite the off, we landed 1st in Super Stock class and 5th overall in the NASA Atlantic Rally Cup.

November - Somewhat frustrated at not finishing BRS I stole Tammy's car and went rallycrossing, taking the Prepared AWD class win and Fastest Time of the Day. Sometimes frustration pays off!
Tammy and I would like to say a huge thank you to all our supporters and crew this season. We couldn't have done it without your help. We're looking forward to 2009!

Paul at Team Illuminata Motorsport
Chad @ Racecraft Engineering
Jan @ Speed Industry
Colin McCleery, Brian Burroughs, Tommy Knight, Corey Franklin, Dmitriy Martynov, Jimmy Brandt and rest of the RCM gang.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


After a very short stage rally in New York due to meeting a tree stump in the dark I really needed to race. Life happens and I hadn’t had time to repair the WRX since September. In fact it’s still in the garage in pieces but that didn’t stop me putting the rally wheels on Tammy’s Forester and heading out to Bob’s Family Raceway to take on the guys in PA class. After two days of rain, it was muddy, really muddy. This event was a day/night rallycross and we love to race in the dark, even though I couldn’t see a thing with dirty headlights and no driving lights! I threw the car into 2nd gear and matted it on every run for the entire day. The auto box was superb and somehow the car had enough traction in the wet conditions to take the class win and FTD. I was a little stunned to be honest as the competition in PA has really stepped up this year. I put it down to new Hankook tyres and a little bit of luck. The course was great though. During the day it was long and the rhythm was fantastic, pitching the car into each corner and being perfectly setup for the next, speeds where constant. I think this is where time was really gained. It certainly wasn’t because of the ability to accelerate or brake in what only can be described as slop!
I had the opportunity to chair this event and that was pretty cool seeing it from another perspective. There’s a lot that goes into organizing a rallycross and it requires a team of people. Despite the crap weather I think it went well, people had fun but I learned some things and if asked again I’ll be better prepared.
What’s next for Alba Rallysport?
The final round of the DRSCCA rallycross season is on December 6th in Capac, MI. Next month I'll write up a 2008 rally season review so please logon for that. I’m looking forward to some snow/ice rallycross over the winter with the new secret weapons and of course we'll continue to develop (read: repair) the rally car for the 2009 season.
Photos by Kyle Treder and Kenneth Tsang. Event trophy photos by

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lessons Learnt at Black River Stages

NASA Black River Stages, September 26th – 27th, did not go quite as planned for the TIM/Alba Rallysport team.
The team was on a high, entering the final round of the Atlantic Rally Cup leading the Super Stock class having taken 2nd place in class in Tennessee and 1st in class at West Virginia. Sadly for the rookie team, luck ran out in New York.

BRS did not reap the result that the team wanted to end the season with. With regular co-driver Tammy sitting it out at home, the team recruited rally legend Jimmy Brandt to fill the silly seat. The rally comprised of 14 stages over 2 days and with a late change in the weather forecast it was a dreech* weekend. Despite a late start on Friday evening the rally got underway and the team were positioned 2nd on the road entering the 8-mile, Jerden Falls 1 stage,
The first stage was very slippery, sand and mud mixed with some surface water. I’ve never run this close to the front so it was a new experience having to break the ground.” commented David.
Even though they had never competed together before the crew weren’t completely off the pace, taking 2nd on the first stage. Onto stage 2 and Texas Road was a long awaited new stage for 2008.
What a fantastic stage!” exclaimed David, “I think I got lost in the notes at one point as the instructions were coming at me so fast but it didn’t matter, we were having a lot of fun.”
The crew snatched the stage win by just a second over the Burke/Holter crew in car #3. With times so close, it was set to be an exciting event.

Stage 3 unraveled that momentary thought. Tidd 1 was a 3.5-mile technical stage followed by a 20 min service. “I might have been pushing pretty hard but it wasn’t a big off.” said David who continued, “Towards the end of the stage we came into a R5 with logs on the outside, down a hill and didn’t make the L4. We just slid off the road, hit a stump and bent the control arm. I should have known that where there are log piles there is usually mud on the road.”
With open diffs the car was stuck but luckily TIM teammates Sladovich/Westcott in car #4 were on hand to tow the WRX out.
With no spares, the service crew dug in and did all they could to try and source a spare and when none could be found they tried to fix the broken part but to no avail. All this with assistance from the service crew of Burke/Holter, this is what makes rally so great. In spite of their efforts the team retired having learnt a hard lesson. “It was just so frustrating. For the sake of a $50 part we were out of the rally. Stupid.” summed up David.

Regardless of the retirement at BRS the team wrapped up the Super Stock class win in the Atlantic Rally Cup and finished 5th overall, a result not to be scoffed at for the first season in a new car. Paul from Team Illuminata Motorsports, “We’re really happy. We’ve had great fun this year, met great people and learnt a lot. We’ll be back in 2009!

* Dreech: Scots for wet, misty, dull, typical Scottish weather

2008 Atlantic Rally Cup Standings

The TIM/Alba Rallysport team would like to thank Corey and Dmitriy for crewing in far from ideal conditions. Also;
Racecraft Engineering,, Delta Subaru of Grand Rapids.

Action photography by Pete Kuncis @ onalimbracing

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bound for Black River Stages

This weekend, TIM/Alba Rallysport will tackle the 4th and final round of NASA’s Atlantic Rally Cup (ARC) at the Black River Stages rally in Harrisville, NY.
In spite of missing the first round of the championship in February, the team has enjoyed a fantastic rookie year in their 2004 WRX and will start the final rally of the season leading the Super Stock class. Sadly, co-driver Tammy will not be competing in this event due to medical reasons as the husband and wife team are expecting a new addition to their crew early next year. “We’re so excited at the prospect of becoming parents but I’m really going to miss co-driving in the rally car. Don’t get too comfortable Jimmy, I’ll be back in 2009!” says Tammy.
Renowned co-driver Jimmy Brandt will be occupying the right seat in New York and David remarks; “While I’ll miss not having Tammy in the car I’m thrilled that Jimmy has agreed to ride along. With his wealth of rally knowledge I’m sure I will learn a great deal this weekend.”
Despite the team’s current position in the championship they are still very much focused on finishing and building experience. “Every rally is new to us so my aim is still to play it safe, have fun and improve my driving skills.” said David who continues, “The Subaru WRX has been great all year. We have tweaked a couple of things for this event but nothing major and we’re looking forward to the stages in New York.”
As always, Paul Eddleston of Team Illuminata Motorsport will be on hand in the service area, “We are really looking forward to this one as it’s the final event of the season and we may come out on top in the class championship.”

The NASA Atlantic Rally Cup is comprised of 4 stage rally events throughout the year with road surfaces that include sand, tarmac and gravel.

Monday, September 8, 2008

POR 2008

What a great rally. The toughest and meanest TSD by far. Tammy and I switched seats and worked controls 6, 16 and 28 on the Saturday leg of the two day event. Yes indeed, I sat on the right side of the car preferring good old fashioned map reading to the stage notes Tammy is used to which brought back memories of skipping last class on Fridays to enter nav rallies in beat up old VWs. We headed north from rally HQ towards Luzerne where we stopped with 2hrs to spare before our first control had to open. The Sloppy Joe's and Slurpies at the Luzerne Express were great and as we sat and ate, a local shared stories of how you could buy a horse for $300 because the price of feed has gone up so much. Having leafed through the route instructions we took off to find control 6. I've always enjoyed working rallies. Part of the fun is finding the most obscure (read fun) route to your given control, of which there is only tape or such identifying it. Finding the location of control 6 wasn't a problem and we set up. Tammy was grinning, finally having the chance to take her own line behind the wheel of the Forester. On the way there we met a group of horse riders and stopped to let them safely by. As most organizers will tell you, friendly PR is always a big part of a road rally. Once Bruce and Mitch passed through and calibrated our clock, cars began filtering into the control and being the first one after a rest stop everyone arrived in order and without problems. We packed up and took off for control 16. We followed the rally route for part of the way and could tell people were trying hard to stay on time! Control 16 was located along a twisty 2 track just off Evans Road, which would make a great closed stage by the way! We set up and had some dinner as it was already 7:30pm. Tom and David came by in the 0 car, giggling and rubbing it in that I would love the previous twisty sections, all 2nd and 3rd gear driving. Tom mentioned that they hit something pretty hard and as I looked down at the right front wheel it was pretty dinged up but still holding air. They pressed on. Cars began arriving but there had obviously been some tricky roads as quite a few were out of order. We waited and waited for car #8 our TIM buddies Slick and Steve. They eventually came by in the Sweep Jeep having killed the alternator on the Talon. Good shake down guys but now you have 3 weeks to get it fixed and running before Black River Stages! We packed up and headed to control 28, our last one of the night.
On the way to control 28 we picked up a strawberry shake and a couple of hot apple pies. Not only did Bruce find some great roads but made sure they passed some good eateries along the way! Rallying is hungry work after all. As it was late, we made our way along the main road out of Luzerne and we entered the section from reverse rally direction. It took us a couple of passes to find the exact location of the marker and as we were setting up, a local stopped alongside us. “What are you doing?” he barked. After a brief explanation, he was satisfied that we weren’t causing trouble, a good thing because he was a big lad and I wouldn’t have wanted to argue with him! As the cars began intermittently rolling in we realized this must have been a challenging section. The drivers were tired but most still grinning and glad to be pressing on. We packed up and headed back to rally HQ, this time I took the wheel as Tammy was pretty exhausted having done most of the driving all night.
The award gathering was very well done. Congratulations to eveyone involved. We had a great time and were glad to hear the competitors did also.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

TIM/Alba Rallysport at Delta Imports

The 4th Annual 28th Street cruise in Grand Rapids was quite something this year. I don't think I've seen such a variety of cars on one street before. Cars ranging from American Muscle to British Classics, Custom Hotrods to Import Tuners; and the people, there were thousands of people. It was quite something.
We had the rally car on display at Delta Imports for most of the day where people stopped by so excited to talk rally and find out more about the car and the sport. We joined in the fun and took an hour to drive along 28th Street where we made a few heads turn. Naturally, it was the younger kids who connected with the car having seen similar versions on computer games or TV. It was pretty cool to have them run up to the side of the road and shout "Colin McRae Rally Car!" as we drove by. We handed out TIM stickers and postcards which made them smile even more. Who knows, perhaps we'll see some of those kids out stage rallying in 10 years. It was a great day.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Michigan Super Rally

This weekend TIM/Alba Rallysport will compete in a first of it's kind event in the Midwest. Auto City Speedway in Clio, MI will host the first mixed tarmac/gravel rallycross with two cars on the track at once battling it out for a share of $2500.
Still on a high from our recent success in West Virginia we've had to make some slight changes to the car setup to stay competitive and to have a hope in winning some of the prize money. It's a knock out style of racing where the winner progresses to the next round and with $1000 going to 1st place we'll be driving flat out from the start!
This is very much an experimental event but one we hope to see more of in the future.
More information can be found at

Monday, August 4, 2008

Astonishing Appalachian Success

NASA Rally West Virginia, August 1st -2nd, was the first gravel rally for the TIM/Alba Rallysport crew in their Super Stock WRX.
In the weeks running up to the 2 day event the team prepared the car for the 19 twisty, rocky stages throughout the hills above the town of Elkins. The prep time paid dividends with many cars literally being torn apart by rocks and trees that lined the narrow stages. There was no room for error and of the 33 entries only 21 finished the event, many cars succumbed to the unpredictable, sharp turns and endless drop offs. Despite the carnage and starting 13th on the road (unlucky for some) TIM/Alba Rallysport achieved a remarkable 1st in class and 5th overall. “Our goal was simply to finish the rally by driving cautiously along the middle of the road” stated co-driver Tammy at the end of two long days in the car. “I can’t believe it!” exclaimed driver David when he heard the final result early Sunday morning, “It’s a shame our class competitors Scott Wilburn and Jimmy Brandt went out so early with mechanical failure. We were really looking forward to seeing how our times compared on gravel. Next time…”
During day 1 the husband and wife crew traded times with car #10 but the #28 car of Eixenberger/Slocum was snapping at the WRX’s rear bumper until an unfortunate puncture moved them back down the order. “We had great fun swapping seconds with the O’Leary lads in the #10 Evo but they were consistently faster than us on Saturday.” said David. Following heavy rain on Saturday morning the second day’s 10 stages (2 were dropped due to delays) proved a challenge for the crew who decided that a calmer-calmer strategy was in order. “I’m amazed the car took the abuse it did.” stated David who quietly admits to giggling uncontrollably on the fast, smooth 6.6 mile Boney Turk stage, “SS9 was the first time we had the chance to open the car up properly. It’s got some grunt in it and that stage is bloody fantastic.”
As usual, Paul Eddleston, Team Illuminata Motorsport owner was on hand in the service parks with Mark Buskirk. “It was a bit boring actually. We just swapped the Team Dynamics wheels front to rear once and checked the oil level a couple of times.” jested Paul who continued, “The most mechanical work we did all weekend was on the tow rig on Sunday morning as it needed new brake pads before the drive back to Michigan. I consider that a successful weekend’s rallying.”
Photos curtesy of James Shoulders.

The TIM/Alba Rallysport team would like to thank;
Chad @ Racecraft Engineering
Jan and Tony @
Stan @ Delta Subaru of Grand Rapids

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Heading for the Hills of West Virginia

This weekend, TIM/Alba Rallysport will face the challenging gravel stages of NASA Rally West Virginia, the 3rd round of the Atlantic Rally Cup (ARC).
Following a successful first outing to Tennessee in May where the husband and wife crew achieved a pleasantly surprising 2nd place in class, the rocky forest roads around Elkins, WV will require quite a different driving strategy.
“I grew up driving twisty tarmac roads in the highlands of Scotland so I felt quite at home on the stages in Tennessee.” said driver David Allan who continues, “Gravel is a completely different game. There’s a lot more that can go badly wrong and we have a great deal to learn. Suffice to say, we’ll be treading very lightly among the other 36 cars.”
In the first year with a 2004 Super Stock Subaru WRX the team are focused on finishing events, building experience and continuously developing the car. Over the past few weeks the car has been transformed from tarmac to gravel spec. TIM owner Paul Eddleston, “It’s important to have a strong reliable wheel and tyre package for gravel events and what better combination than Team Dynamics wheels and Hankook tyres?”

Co-driver Tammy gets the last word, “Finish, finish finish. This is our goal. It will be a long, two-day event and with no recce we plan to take it easy, become familiar with the stages and learn from the other crews.”
TIM/Alba Rallysport extend their thanks to Chad Klungle from Racecraft, Stan in the parts department at Delta Subaru of Grand Rapids and of course friends and family who have contributed or put up with the long hours spent preparing the rally car.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Car setup, crap times!

The fifth round of the 2008 Detroit SCCA rallycross presented by Team Illuminata Motorsport was the first chance we had to take the WRX out to play locally. Here's how it went...
Although the prior week had been extremely dry, the morning of July 12th saw torrential rain resulting in conditions more akin to off-road racing, not rallycross. I was in two minds whether to get the car dirty...oh come on, this is a rally car not a Shine and Show trailer queen.
Photo by Chris Amos -
We loaded up and headed out on the epic 20 minute drive to Clarksville. Coming off the back of a successful first outing in Tennessee our goal was to see how the car handled on dirt. Since the addition of the Racecraft cage and legit gravel suspension the car was a totally different machine and I'm finding that I'm having to re-learn how to drive it. We set the chassis up to turn in well but not to be too twitchy, the last thing you want at 60-70mph flying through the forest. As a result we discovered that the car understeered too much on the tight rallycross course although that was also partly due to the fact I hadn't driven hard on gravel for 6 month. I was a little rusty. The first couple of runs weren't the smoothest and upon inspection under the car I discovered the rear sway bar end link bolts had worked loose, probably contributing to the understeer. As the day progressed I explored several cornering techniques, some which worked better than others. I learned a great deal from the 14+ runs and we've tweaked the chassis considerably since then and will be testing this weekend. Hopefully we'll see some improvements in both the car and and driver!

5 days until we leave for West Virginia...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rally withdrawal...

It's been 5 weeks since Rally Tennessee and we're getting really restless. After tearing the car down to check out the wear and tear we were surprised to find very little wrong with it. Of course the tyres and pads look like they've seen some abuse but nothing out of the ordinary. We raised Tammy's seat a little so she could see over the dash and she'll test it out at the next rallycross in 2 weeks time.
We need to get the Terratrip fixed or replaced as it stopped working before it's very first MTC! It most certainly is a faulty unit so should be under warranty.
Some new Team Dynamics Pro Rally 1 wheels are on order thanks to Team Illuminata Motorsport so we'll get the Hankook's mounted as soon as they arrive.
We're hoping the roof vent arrives before August so as to keep the cabin a little cooler. I need to rewire the light pod harness for no other reason that it looks untidy and annoys me! Change the oil and fluids and we'll be ready for the next stage rally, round 3 of the NASA Atlantic Rally Cup, Rally West Virginia on August 1-2nd.
August will be a busy month what with the very first Super Rally event in Michigan on the 16th; details can be found at The following weekend sees the 4th annual 28th St Cruise in Grand Rapids so bring the family out to see some cool classic cars and keep your eyes peeled for a few rally cars during the weekend!

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Memorable Memorial Day Weekend in Tennessee

NASA Rally Tennessee, May 24th, was a rally to remember for the TIM/Alba Rallysport team.
It truly was a rally of firsts for the new team. First time on tarmac, first event using stage notes and the first rally in the freshly built Super Stock class WRX. “We aimed for nothing more than a finish and to bring the car back in one piece”, said driver David Allan who continued, “Our crew did an outstanding job putting the final touches on the car right before scrutineering on Friday. It wouldn’t be rallying if it wasn’t last minute!”
With modest goals for the weekend the team was overjoyed at being awarded 2nd place in SS class and 8th overall out of 22 entries. “We’re speechless”, commented co-driver Tammy, “We made some small mistakes during the day but generally we just took it easy and kept the car on the road. Forgetting to switch the intercom on for the long 8 mile Hohenwald stage was the biggest hiccup and that caused us to overshoot the L1 about 6 miles in”. With a non-functioning computer the crew was glad they had the opportunity to complete recce.
To the relief of the service crew there was very little drama during the day although for the car crew the lengthened transit mileage in the latter stages made getting to the next stage on time somewhat entertaining. The team attributes a successful first event to car preparation, “The Speed Industry tuned engine was superb right from the start and the Hankook tyres held up well on the twisty, high temperature, coarse road surface”, said David with a grin.
Team Illuminata Motorsport owner, Paul Eddleston, summarizes the weekend, “It was a great experience working with Tammy, Dave and the experienced service crew. It is amazing they finished so well up in the rankings considering how carefully they were driving, a testament to their skill and the well built, superb looking vehicle; a work of art. We are very proud to be associated with this team and look forward to more fantastic experiences in the future."
The car is still in the early phases of development and the team identified some areas for improvement but nothing that can’t be resolved before the next event in West Virginia on August 2nd, which is the third round of the Atlantic Rally Cup.

Photo by Judson Bartlett @ Square Spot Design

The TIM/Alba Rallysport team would like to thank;
Chad @ Racecraft Engineering
Jan and Tony @
Stan @ Delta Subaru of Grand Rapids

Friday, May 16, 2008

Time to Tackle the Tarmac of Tennessee

Next weekend, NASA Rally Tennessee will be the first event for the TIM/Alba Rallysport team in their freshly built Subaru WRX. The joint partnership between Michigan based Team Illuminata Motorsport and Alba Rallysport began with local Detroit SCCA rallycross and TSD events. “Stage rallying, it’s the obvious next step ain’t it?” stated TIM owner Paul Eddleston. The team has set themselves modest goals in their first stage rally together, “We are looking to learn but equally important is getting out there and having some fun.” said driver, David Allan who continues, “I’ve been around rallying since I was a wee lad so although it’s great to finally have the opportunity to drive we’ll be happy just sitting at the back of the pack, biding our time and doing our best to keep the car on the road.”
Since completing two rallies in 2007, Galway-Cavendish and LSPR, the husband and wife crew have been eager to get back out on the stages; the team has 3-4 events on the calendar for 2008. Team co-driver, Tammy, clarifies the crew’s strategy, “What happens in the car stays in the car! We had a couple of heated moments at LSPR but are better for it and now we’re looking forward to this season in the new car. As long as my driver keeps his mouth shut and does as he’s told we’ll be fine.”
The last 4 months have been filled with long hours and late nights in preparation for the TIM/Alba Rallysport trip to Linden, Tennessee. David highlights, “Paul at TIM has been instrumental in getting us up on all four wheels so to speak. He’s supplied many of the parts required in putting together a safe, reliable package from brakes to seats and harnesses, even Team Dynamics wheels.”Paul enthuses, “Team Illuminata Motorsport is very excited to be involved with Alba Rallysport in their campaign to participate in Rally Tennessee and other rally events throughout 2008. We are looking forward to great challenges, great fun, great camaraderie and great feedback on our performance products.”

The TIM/Alba Rallysport team extends their thanks to Chad Klungle from Racecraft for a cage that is quite simply a work of safety engineered art. Thanks also go to Stan in the parts department at Delta Subaru of Grand Rapids for sourcing many of the OEM spares. Of course a huge thanks to the whole RCM gang, you know who you are!

Monday, May 12, 2008


After being apart for the last few months the car is suddenly coming together, and quickly. It's matter of bolting everything back on now, putting in new fluids and firing her up...sounds easy, right?!
Dash back in place for wiring
RS&SP coilovers and Brembo discs

32mm turbo restrictor (prototype 1)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

2 weeks to go!

It's been a while, but we've been rather busy over the last few weeks. We've had a few issues with the turbo restrictor fitment and as a result have to machine our own. Minor setback but nothing we can't handle.The underside of the car is complete and we just picked it up last night from Racecraft where the stainless exhaust was fabricated to mate up with the Injen downpipe from Team Illuminata Motorsport.
It's coming together and looks fantastic. This weekend we hope to have the car running after finishing the wiring; rally computer, intercom, cut off switch etc. Then we’ll install the dash, seats and harnesses. Finally the graphics will be applied before we trailer the car to Detroit next weekend to have it dyno tuned...2 weeks until we leave for Rally Tennessee!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Christmas at Alba Rallysport

Two of the key design goals with this project from the start have been to build a safe and reliable car. We want to be sure that if, when, we go off the stage we reduce the risk of harm to ourselves. To that end we enlisted the help of Chad at Racecraft to build a fantastic cage to a specification well beyond the basic requirements of all sanctioning bodies in North America. Secondly, with today's entry fees we want to complete all stage miles and get the most value for money. How frustrating is it when you DNF because of a mechanical failure? That would just p!ss me off.
Of course you can achieve both these goals and add to that a healthy turn of speed if you have a healthy cheque book. Sadly that's not reality so we've been selective in what to spend our hard earned cash on. A recent post I read on a Subaru forum highlighted that some people don't recognize what it takes to turn a regular road car into a safe, reliable rally car. The photo below shows just some of the parts we decided were vital to that goal.
Thanks go to our primary team partner Team Illuminata Motorsport ( for stepping up and helping out with sourcing many of the parts required.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Moving along

In the past couple of weeks after getting the car back from McCleery's paint shop, Zeeland we dropped the drivetrain and rear suspension destroying a few recip saw blades in the process. Two winters of MI roads pretty much seized up all the important bolts under the car. After a quick call to my friendly parts guy at Delta Subaru in GR I had a whole new set to replace the old corroded ones. Although it's been a huge PITA project I'd rather swap the bolts out in the dry warmth of the garage than in the middle of the night at a remote service somewhere. It'll pay off.

Once the gearbox was out we fitted an Exedy stage 1 clutch. The gearbox hadn't been removed since the car left the assembly line in 2004 so it took a large chisel, a mallet and some creative swearing to get it off. Again, better here than at a rally. We gave the underside of the car a good cleaning, washing off several pounds of dirt and clay from the last two years of rallycrossing. We painted her up real purdy too! ;o)

As you can see, the engine compartment now has a few blank spaces where parts used to be. The AC compressor and condenser are now gone, and the stock downpipe will be replaced with a performance piece. The turbo just arrived last night having been machine fitted with a 32mm restrictor.
We've test fitted the seats and positioned drivers and navvie footrests, map lights etc. so now it's just a matter of bolting it all back together, doing some wiring and firing her up...sounds easy right?!

Friday, April 4, 2008

No brakes!

So we've just completed a last minute brake install on the Forester XT. They were pretty bad. Unfortunately we sheared the lower bolt on the front caliper hanger. Luckily we managed to get the whole assembly apart then installed a hanger from the WRX. The pads and rotors have been bed in and now we're ready to rock tomorrow. Stay tuned for an event report and WRX rally car build update soon...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Yet more progress…

It’s been a tiring couple of weeks working on the Alba Rallysport WRX rally car, often working late into the night. Progress isn’t moving along as fast as I’d like and we’re about 2 weeks behind schedule. Little things like life and work always get in the way don’t they?After the cage was completed we labeled all the wiring harness connections before removing some of it for shell prep. It’s helpful to have a complete service shop manual on DVD. As this will be a production class car the wiring harness will be reinstalled. We wire wheeled the seam sealer and stitch welded all the major seams. We also removed the sound deadening material using dry ice (from your local Meijer!) and an electric scraper (sold by Bosch in Europe). Many people will tell you this is a nightmare task but it took two of us less than an hour. It’s handy when you have the right power tools! After test fitting the seats and steering wheel (making broom broom noises of course) we pulled them back out along with the tail lights and taped up all the areas that we didn’t want to paint. We used a lot of tape. This week, we’ll paint the entire interior with white enamel. Stay tuned.

Buffing seams with a Craftsman Professional 20v Lithium-Ion drill.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More progress...

The cage is near completion. Most of the major tubes are in place. The door bars have been bent and will be welded up this week, with gussets. We test fitted the seat location and like a tailored suit the car now fits perfectly around us. Built beyond RA and NASA requirements we're confident this cage will keep us safe. After all, I’ll have the most important person to me sitting along side as we fly through the forests.
Next step, paint.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Open Season

We were all hoping for a great season opener but nobody expected what turned out to be the best snow & ice event we’ve had to date. The Detroit Region SCCA Team Illuminata Motorsport rallycross season got underway in spectacular style under sunny skies.
Granted, temperatures were well below freezing but this didn’t prevent 46 cars from competing against each other over 8 runs. With many new competitors in attendance word of the successful 2007 season had obviously spread.
For Alba Rallysport, the time had come for co-driver Tammy to exercise her skills behind the wheel. With the WRX out of action the team’s Subaru Forester XT recce car was brought in to contend with a 14 strong SA (Stock AWD) class. Equipped with sump and diff guards the only thing it lacked was a set of snow/ice tyres, however the BFG T/As performed better than expected.
The first two runs were taken with caution to get the feel for the course and the varying surface conditions yet managing to fend off the #77 Sti. We pushed hard on run 3 then backed off for a few runs until run 7 where Tammy achieved her fastest time of the day. It wasn’t quite enough however and we dropped a position on the final run after a spin. Not entirely the driver’s fault, I did shout for her to get on the gas just a little too early coming out of the first turn causing the car to over rotate and hit a snow bank. Refusing to check her times after every run was the tactic of the day and it paid off, taking only 1 cone penalty (better than any of my events last year!) and a well-driven 12th place. Consistency was the goal for this first event and with that in mind we consider it a resounding success.
See you in Fowlerville on March 15th!

Photo by

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Just a quick short post to update the rally car build. Most of the cage tubes have been bent and tacked in place. We've positioned the seats, wheel and harness so that the seat tubes can be tacked in. We should have the shell complete by the end of the month.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Off season? Nah…

Since the final round of the 2007 rallycross season it’s been all go at Alba Rallysport. With a short break over Christmas and New Year we jumped on a plane and visited our sibling team Alba Motorsport in Perth, Scotland. The weather was somewhat wet and windy, normal for December. Sadly we didn’t have the chance to test drive the team Land Rover, a rather special vehicle. Recently completed in 2007 and purpose built for off-road challenge events, the coil sprung 90” truck cab chassis features a 2” lift. Powered by a 3.5L Rover V8 it’s equipped with an external roll cage, Warn winch, auxiliary lights and a host of recovery equipment. of course supplied the graphics.

Upon returning to Michigan on New Years Day we started a major rally project for 2008. The WRX interior was stripped out in readiness for stage rally preparation. This project is expected to last the next 4 months and will include a full custom-built roll cage, various chassis strengthening modifications, all the necessary safety additions and a wide range of under body protection. Check back for updates as the project progresses.

January was a busy month for Alba Rallysport and naturally we attended the Detroit SCCA annual awards banquet. Despite the cold, snowy weather, the food, drink and company was warming. Having the chance to celebrate and congratulate all the class winners of the 2007 season is a wonderful thing. The region’s rallycross program has come a long way and we were honoured to receive the 1st place award for the Rally Prepared AWD (PA) class from Paul at Team Illuminata Motorsport. Congratulations to all the other rallycross class winners and runners up. I’m sure the 2008 season will be an even greater challenge.

Photo by Chris Amos,

The last weekend in January saw the season opener of the Rally America Championship, Sno*Drift based in Atlanta, MI. It was a freezing weekend in the ‘Tip of the Mitt’ but I spent two days in one of the 000 lead cars, this time in the unusual position of co-driver. An incredible amount of work and effort goes into organizing and running a stage rally and having the chance to experience it from a different perspective makes me appreciate the dedication of the workers that allows us competitors to partake in a sport we love.

Sno*Drift winners Antoine L'Estage & Nathalie Richard, photo by Uwe Reher