The winning streak of the ...
The winning streak of the #46 Carolina RallySport WRX with driver Matthew Johnson of Apex, NC and co-driver Kim DeMotte of St.Louis, MO has come to an end this past weekend at the Maine Forest Rally. Recently in the super tight fight for Production GT honors in the Rally America Championship the team had pulled off two wins in a row in Oregon and following in Pennsylvania.
Maine Forest started off with the typical tight fight with main Carolina RS rivals, Tanner Foust and Scott Crouch, from the Flatirons Tuning rally team. After the two teams tied each other on the super special spectator stage, Foust beat Johnson by 12 seconds on the first wooded stage sending a signal that it was time to get serious. The following two stages saw Johnson on the attack gaining 6 seconds on each stage back in his favor.
Johnson said: "I guess I was slacking on SS2, I just didn't have my head in the right place for how fast that stage was, at 105 mph approaching corners it takes something more than usual to hold the throttle down and not brake. I made a choice to run a wider and softer version of our Hankook rally tires on SS4, Concord Pond, and planned to take the time back and retake the lead in PGT. It worked and we flew through the stage, I think that stage may be one of my best drives yet!"
By Friday evening when the dust had settled after 30 stage miles, Johnson was back in the lead by just 7/10ths sec. DeMotte adds: "Tanner and Scott are here on a push to get themselves ready for their appearance in the X Games Rally next week, they are trying very hard. We are ready to run at that pace as well and won't be giving anything away while we're here to seek our third win in PGT and take the lead in the championship."
Saturday started just as you'd expect with the teams trading stage times, Johnson was holding onto a 6 second lead going into the last pair of stages when he accidentally clipped a rock at high speed and got a right front flat tire.
Johnson- "My Hankook tires have been great all weekend, I just went off line and smacked a rock as I was unsure of a corner coming up. It was totally my fault and totally typical of Maine Forest, this place is known for punctures; I think I've had one every year I've competed here!"
The Carolina RallySport WRX struggled down the stage hobbling as quickly as possible on the wheel until it could be changed loosing many hard earned and valuable minutes in the process. As his final statement for Maine Forest 2006, Johnson won the last stage by 4 seconds and finished third place conceding the win to Foust. The final PGT finishing positions were Foust 1st, Mendham 2nd, Johnson 3rd.
Carolina RallySport would like to send a special thank you out to John Groo of John Groo Photography based in Hartford, CT. A former and still aspiring rally driver, John rally prepared a Saab for the team to use on the pre rally recce for this event, made huge contributions in media materials and served as crew chief for the weekend. Thanks John!
Matthew Johnson is an Apex, NC based performance rally driver currently vying for the Rally America PGT Championship. He started his racing career in a Volkswagen GTI in 1995 and quickly moved up the ranks to become a top competitive rally driver in a all-wheel-drive turbo Subaru WRX.
Co-Driver Kim DeMotte is a 35 year veteran of rally racing from Missouri with a vast background as a driver, co-driver and event organizer. He brings lots of enthusiasm along with his experience.
Rally Car: The Carolina RallySport Subaru WRX runs in the Production-GT class. Under the rules the car is virtually stock and only minimal modifications are allowed. It has approximately 220 horsepower and a standard 5 speed transmission.