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 - chrisamosphotography.com
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...