Flatirons Rally Team Takes third in Production GT at Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally to stay in 2006 Championship hunt. Boulder, CO - The Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team looked to the ultra fast Susquehannock Trail ...
Flatirons Rally Team Takes third in Production GT at Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally to stay in 2006 Championship hunt.
Boulder, CO - The Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team looked to the ultra fast Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) to get themselves back into the Rally America Production GT Championship race as they looked to defend their 2005 title. The Flatirons Team needed a solid finish at Susquehannock Trail to stay within striking distance of the championship leaders, Eric Langbien and Matthew Johnson. Adding to the excitement and anticipation of the event was one of the strongest fields of high-powered Open class cars seen in the last 10 years as teams attempted to qualify for an invitation to the X Games Rally, something the Flatirons Rally Team had already accomplished.
After Leg One and the first three stages of the rally the Flatirons Team was out in front in Production GT and looked to be building a comfortable lead as they had done in previous rallies. "Leg One was a great way to start for us, we found a solid rhythm even without the ideal Hankook tires mounted, kept the car in between the trees avoiding any problems, and were able to build a lead over Matthew [Johnson] and Eric [Langbien]", noted driver Tanner Foust. With the Leg ending Special Stage 4, the famed "Subaru Splash" stage, the Flatirons Team was able to relax and take advantage of the extra service time to make sure their Subaru WRX rally car was ready for the ensuing battle on the stages to come.
Leg Two started by featuring a resurgent Matthew Johnson topping the times for the Production GT class. While Johnson leapt to the front on the individual stages the Flatirons duo made sure to run a "mature" pace and keep Johnson close on the stages but to not take any risks trying to build or maintain all of their lead. "On the first loop of stages on Leg Two Matthew [Johnson] was really pushing and setting some really fast stage times, we decided to try and run conservatively and just keep Matthew close on the stages since we had a pretty good lead", stated co-driver Scott Crouch.
After the last service break of the evening the Flatirons Rally Team's strategy appeared to be paying off. After building a lead of 51.0 seconds ahead of the then second place Johnson the Flatirons Team looked set to take their third class victory of the season as long as they could keep the car undamaged. But Susquehannock Trail is notorious for the closely lined roads with all sorts of ditches, embankments, trees, and other car damaging debris some times just inches from the road surface. With a new start order at the service the Flatirons Team, unfortunately had the possibility of catching slower traffic on the long stages. In Stage 8 that's exactly what they did. "As we approached the slower traffic I made the classic mistake of watching his taillights instead of continuing to listen to Scott. I went wide on a medium left and got sucked into the heavy mud, the incident mangle both the right front and right rear suspension," stated Foust.
The Flatirons duo scrambled to make road side repairs the best that they could, taking advantage of a delay and subsequent transiting of Special Stage 9 after a competitor ahead of them on the road suffered a severe crash. Despite their best efforts to repair the car the team lacked the tools and parts to make proper repairs and continued to lose time on the final stage. "We would have loved to win this event, and for a while it looked like we might, but we are happy being able to finish, sometimes in rally that is very hard thing to do. A lot of good teams had crashes and cars brake, we had our moments but in the end our solid Flatirons Subaru WRX got us to the finish and we take home 14 championship points and are just 4 points behind first place in the championship," stated Crouch.
The Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team would like to also welcome their new sponsors to the team that joined just before the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally; Perry's Boulder Autobody, Hankook Tires, Enkei Wheels and Invidia and also thank their continuing supporting sponsors Vishnu Tuning, Beta Tools, Red Line Oil, and Sparco.
Also be sure to tune into ESPN2's Import Racer's program and see Flatirons Rally Team driver Tanner Foust host as he takes viewers inside the world of import culture and motor sport.