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Sno*Drift ProRally Report (long) - Car 59 perspective
Following Steamboat, the next event for this qhead was the crew chief duties
of 1999 Michelin PR car number 59, a ex-FIA (Group A) spec'd, 1995 S2. Both
the owner/driver and I have had busy shop winters, so our grand plans of
'testing' proved to be more last minute prepping of the car. The massive
spring rates of LSPR came out, more tame went in (though we are still going
tamer), the new Haka Q's (secret weapon - awesome tire) mounted, the Michelin
G50's remounted. A reworked skid plate (front) needs some more work, it the
last to get buckled in before the car went on the trailer 8pm Thursday night
for the 8 hour drive.
Arrived in Atlanta (MI) about 3:30am, and promptly passed out for a couple
hours. Brendan Rudack met us there as my main wrench, and we had a couple of
busy days ahead. Tech proved interesting, we had a notation in the logbook
for FIA homog papers on the cage, which we presented in german (including the
requisit 50 german FIA stamps) to the official. Not really knowing what he
was looking at (thank goodness for the pictures) he signed us off. But then
there was the sound ck. Uh, oh. Anyone that has seen this car knows it's the
loudest one in PR, period. The exhaust tapers from the turbo to the back of
the car, unbalanced from 2.125 to 5inches. The coolest 5 cylinder megaphone.
95db @4krpm the limit, we whack 98.5. A quick fix and we got a 72.3 on the
Some discussion on tires ensued. The course was basically snow covered ice,
about 4inches total. We ran the press stage Friday afternoon with the
Michelin G50's (very skinny 175 /15 on 15X6 wheels - non DOT tires - 1/2 in
staggered knobs, serious snows), and they seemed pretty well matched. I took
a ride with the driver on this stage, and felt we were too stiff still, but
the car was running great. For this event, we had ex-champion, ex-woodner,
ex-bruno, codriver Clark Bond (we named 007). With 350 Rallyes in his 20
years of codriving, we felt we had the best of the best for this one. After
the Press Stage, Clark and I spent a couple of hours getting the computer
figured out and recalibrated to miles from it's km default ("geez, I have to
drive .... again":). This car runs locked F/C/R diffs, so turning on
anything but off road is not an easy task.
Friday night we enjoyed some great eats, and good stories from 007 (even if
half of them are true, the quattro stories were the best). Saturday, we
headed for the single service point (I like this new trend), grabbed a spot
midway between the in and out markers, and set up shop.
2 stages into the rally, the ice was getting really dicey, lots of sun and
spinning tires made for a slick course. First service stop, we put on the
Hokas, and John seemed happier with them, though the ice was getting the best
of many drivers. A lot of offs, several cars lost not only bogey times, but
overall time outs. We started 37 of 42, finished 15th. Brendan and I managed
a couple of quick runs to spectating points, and found the instant crack
throttle HP of the S2 was not conducive to smooth turns and power outs.
Definitely have to look at calming the "on-offness" of this turbo, these
conditions were not giving HP any advantage, quattro or non.
John had a couple of close calls, some spoiler damage front and rear seemed to
be the extent of it. We did a skid pan R&R during one service to get a
baseline time, and found 10 minutes to be really long. A redesign of the rear
mounting of the plate should quarter that time. All in all the service stops
for us were fuel, oil, tire swaps, and some minor repairs to plastic. Not so
to lots of other folks however. Rick Beals (finally got to meet him - great
guy) had some serious trouble keeping trans fluid in the car (and off his
clutch), and was heard to be consuming a lot of cocacola and flour during the
rally. Saw lots of other crews really busy, lots of suspension bits and body
parts needing attention. Me, I'm happy to be overprepared and bored as crew,
thanks... I know our time will come, especially as we add HP. My own
thinking is that the S2 with locked diffs in our 400hp (or so) trim is not
enough to justify the locked front. However, I'm encouraging the driver to
leave it in, since adding HP will make us want it back. Best learn to drive
on it now...
The talons seemed to lead this event, we need more quattros... On the way
home we stopped at an ice race, were invited to join, declined, but enjoyed
watching the action. Some discussion on how to make a better skid plate was
the main topic for the ride home, we think we have it solved.
Thanks to Brendan for his usual fine hustle, 007 for joining us (and the great
Bruno stories), and to John (+Lehmann, AS, SMS prep) for not giving me much to
do, again. If you ever get a chance to see a rallye, it's a must do.
End of Report
'87 4Runner turbo