Jun 12, 2006 update to the Subaru Impeza project car

RallyCross at European Rally School.

We went to a RallyCross this weekend at European Rally School in Starke, Florida. The courses were very long, and were nearly full rally stages. We ran four different variations for a total of five runs. Our first runs were pretty tentative as there was no time for a walk through nor did we have a navigator telling us where to go. Per turned a 6:50-something and Kim had a 7:44 (not bad for her first rallycross run in a car that she’s never driven)

On our second run, we got a little over zealous as this stage was a repeat of the first. We overestimated the stopping power of street tires on gravel (no rally tires were allowed) and we clocked a 55-gallon steel drum at speed. It got stuck on our front tow hook and we wound up dragging it over a mile until it came off and we ran over it. Unfortunately, it high centered the car and we wound up DNFing to get the barrel out from under our Subaru. This put us out of any contention, as this stage was scored as the slowest time plus 5 minutes. Back in the pits, we removed the light bar which now sported a cracked lens on one of our Hella Compact 4000 fogs. Truth be told, we should have removed the bar before we ran…live and learn. Kim turned a 7:20 on her second stage, getting more used to the car.

Our third run was a lot of fun. This was nearly the same as the first two stages with some changes to the hairpin sections. We came in with a 6:15, which was right in the thick of things, close enough to the faster WRXs to make us happy. Kim broke into the 6’s with a 6:50 and change. She also getting into the idea that it’s ok for the car to slide and her grin at the end was visible for about a mile.

The fourth run was run in the reverse direction and once again, we came in with a respectable time, in the faster group of Subarus. We really got the car hung out on the hairpins, using a combination of a Scandinavian flick and a quick pull of the handbrake to get our car to rotate as we downshifted to first for the tight turn-arounds. Kim came in with another 6:56, which she was very happy with, as it was a good run on a completely different stage.

While a fifth stage was run, we decided to bail out early as we had an autocross scheduled for Sunday. At the end of the day, we were pretty happy with our driving and how the Subaru worked. It proved once again that its pretty tough and while we did get a few new scratches and we have to order a new lens from Hella, it’s ready for Rally West Virginia in two weeks.

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