Joey@WORKS On Thursday, May 20, 2010

WORKS Rally participated in their second event in the 2010 Rally America season, The Oregon Trail Rally. This is a particularly challenging race and the attrition showed just that. The event started on Friday night at Portland International Raceway. Covering some of the famous race track and much of the surrounding service roads, that makes some of the best spectator stages on the Rally America schedule. 63 cars participated Friday night, and by the end of Saturday’s stages only 24 competitors were out of the race.

Finishing the Olympus Rally a month earlier WORKS Motorsport was really excited to get to Oregon and show that the car and the team was ready to take the fight to the remaining Rally America season in Pennsylvania and Maine. With only minor servicing to the car by the team the car and Lars Wolfe WORKS rally driver was ready for the race.

Thinking the team was firmly in place, a scheduling conflict took Jon Burke out of the right seat. In the last moments before the cut off for not being able to make the event Tina Warner, a local of sorts, stepped into the co-driver’s seat. And once at the event Lars and Tina recced the stages and were super excited about what was to come.”The stages start super rough and are going to be car killers if not careful, but if you make it past those the rest of the weekend stages will be some of the most fun stages so far!”Lars Wolfe was heard saying after recce Thursday night.

Friday night at PIR was conservative for the team. “On these types of stages you can never win the Rally but you can lose the whole thing.” Crew chief Scot Langford, said after the only service of the night. WORKS went out on the new BFGoodrich KDW T/A to see if the aggressive design of the tire could stand up to the rigors of multi surface stages. The tires showed that they were up for anything as we clicked off consistent times for the night. By the end of the night the car and crew were in good shape and with only a quick check over they were ready for the two days of forest stages to come. Unfortunately, Tina Warner did not fare so well and came off the nights stages with a 104 temp and a visit to the local hospital.

Park expose started Saturday at 10am in The Dalles, Oregon. Fans came from all over to see off the 62 competitors to the day’s stages. Even after a visit to the hospital Tina Warner, the team’s co-driver, fought through what had happened and jumped in the car eager to start the days stages. The weather wasn’t going too much of a factor this weekend; sunny and hot was the forecast and we made the perfect choice of tires with the help of BFGoodrich.

As predicted, the first stages were some of the roughest encountered so far for the car and the team opted to pick and choose the carful path through the rough stuff to make it to the fast stages, where they know the car can really show its design. And by the end of the day, with no major issues, Lars’s prediction of the days stages being a car killer were seen by many competitor with nearly 1/3 of the racers out, Ken Block and Dave Mirra being just a couple of the names out for the weekend.

The last day started; much like the first at 10am but now in Dufur, OR. The sleepy little town pulled out all the stops for us. We made our way out to the stages where the fun was about to start. We battled our way up to 5th in class as Lars and Tina started to get a rhythm in the car. But with a communication error we received a 3:30 penalty for speeding on a transit from stage to stage. With this error we found ourselves drop to 9th in class. Without the race mileage left in the weekend we knew the only way to make up positions was to stay consistent and position ourselves for further attrition. With the weather getting hotter in the car communication became tougher and tougher for Lars and Tina. We did not find out until later that Tina had a case of pneumonia, but even through that she stayed in the car and gave her best. Communication between the driver and co-driver is of the most important aspect of this type of racing. These few mistakes can drop the confidence in the driver and slow them down. But in the end we finished the race moving up three more positions resulting in a 6th in class and 13th over all.

We are still learning how hard we can push the car and the transmission. The Mitsubishi RalliArt SST has been an exciting car to start rallying and we are looking forward to making it to the rest of the Rally America events. Special thanks to BFGoodrich, SSP, Hotbits suspension, Allpoints Petrolium, Royal Purple oils, Whiteline suspension components, and Lab 17.

Joey@WORKS On Saturday, May 15, 2010

The car is performing well so far. We have some photos and videos we will be uploading soon. The car sounds a lot different from every other car out there!

Joey@WORKS On Friday, May 14, 2010

WORKS will be at the Oregon Trail Rally with Rally America this weekend. Tonight the event will start at Portland International Raceway at 6. We have WORKS Grab shift knobs, license plate frames, and boost hoses for Brain Flashes. Come watch the Ralliart in it's second event!

Joey@WORKS On Tuesday, May 4, 2010

WORKS Rally made it into a few video collages made by fans at the Olympus Rally. Check em out!

At 2:19

At 1:28

Joey@WORKS On Monday, May 3, 2010

Every event Rally America holds a photo contest, which is open to all who attend. The WORKS Ralliart made it into the Olympus Rally Photo Contest! Cast your vote and help WORKS gain more notoriety!


Sonoma, California - April 30, 2010

WORKS Rally finished our debut event for the 2010 Rally America Series at the world famous Olympus Rally in Washington. It has also been almost a year since our driver, Lars Wolfe, had been on the trail. 51 teams entered in the event this year, but only 18 made it to the end. WORKS Rally was one of those lucky 18.

The choice to prepare a Lancer Ralliart instead of an Evolution was well thought out but we knew that certain preparations needed to be made right from the start. The two main hurdles were the TC-SST twin-clutch transmission and the rear suspension. We took the necessary steps to reinforce the transmission clutch packs since no one has yet to successfully run a twin-clutch transmission in rally. We saw this as a risk worth taking since many rally cars in WRC utilize sequential shift transmissions, so we wanted to get as close to that technology as possible that the Rally America Series would allow. Also, the rear suspension of the Ralliart does not allow for the same amount of travel as an Evolution. With several airborne experiences during Olympus, this was a trial by fire.

Bringing a prototype car to scrutineering is always exciting. The car was examined under a microscope by the judges. After a couple of very minor adjustments the car was off to the park exposé. WORKS Rally showed up to the event with only 3 crew members; driver Lars Wolfe, co-driver Jon Burke, and technician Josh Shutz-Hellam. Many rally fans were surprised to learn that our car was not an Evolution. And since many fans were familiar with sequential-transmission technology used in WRC they were very interested in our decision to use the TC-SST gearbox. At the exposé the team was approached by two fans: Tino Fortunato and Nikki Saetre. They offered their services as crew members, which could not be more appreciated for WORKS Rally on a gloomy weekend with foul weather forecasted.

It was at this point that the team began to develop a relationship. This was the first time that Lars Wolfe and Jon Burke had worked together as driver/co-driver, technician Josh Shutz-Hellam has only been with WORKS for about a month, and now there were two complete strangers in the crew. And since the co-driver acts as the brain of the rally car and the driver acts as the nervous system the two of them needed to find a common ground in their communication. And taking into account that this would be a shakedown for a brand new car, this was forecasted to be an interesting weekend.

Lars and Jon set off for Stage 1, Wreck Creek, at 8AM. The TC-SST’s quick and aggressive shifts shot the Ralliart off the starting line much quicker than anticipated. Since Lars had his hand in every modification made to the car he was particularly in focused on every creak and squeek it made. They reached the second service stop at the end of Stage 2 with no mechanical issues. By the end of the day only minor repairs needed to be made. This was alone was cause for celebration for the team. Already we had passed a milestone no other company had done yet. Our upgraded twin-clutch transmission had held for a full day of competition.

That night the team began their routing maintenance in the hotel parking lot. As it began to rain, a local by the name of Harry Buckman saw the techs wrenching on the car and offered his garage to the team for the night. Without his help, our team would have had a much longer and harder night. We owe a very special thanks to Harry.

After the team-building crash-course that was Day one, Lars and Jon began to find their rhythm. Comfort and familiarity for the Ralliart was improved and the team started clobbering 30-40 seconds off their previous times. They were looking forward to test the car’s true power on the dry and infamous Brooklyn stages. However, it was in this stage that WORKS Rally ended the race last year. Lars describes how he felt as he approached the very turn that claimed our Evo IX. “It felt like I was playing Gran Turismo with my kids on their Playstation. As I drove past the spot, I was watching the old car’s outlined shadow roll off the road. It was like passing a ghost. At that point, I felt like I could really let go of that experience and move on.”

WORKS Rally finished 8th out of 13 in a prototype vehicle. We are excited about the information we gathered about the car and know what needs to be done to earn our spot on the podium. It has been a year since Lars has been behind the wheel; the cob webs are coming loose and his spirit was revived this past weekend. He admitted that he was nervous and apprehensive because of both the car and his hiatus. We look forward to working with Jon Burke again at the Oregon Trail Rally in a few weeks and hope to see some of you there.