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.


Nick said...

Glad to see you guys made it through the weekend, was crazy to see some of the names out so early on the first forest stage. Hope Tina is doing well. I'll be keeping tabs on the season!