TatoMotorsports U.S. Rally Team Closes their 2004 Season with a Podium Finish
Los Angeles, California - George Plsek Jr. (Driver - Del Mar, CA) and Jeff Burmeister (Navigator - Minneapolis, MN) closed out their 2004 TatoMotorsports U.S. Rally Team's Season with a third place finish at the Ramada Express International Rally held December 10th -12th
The Ramada Express International Rally, known as one of the richest and most challenging events in North America, is a three-day performance rally racing event held in Laughlin Nevada that covers 500 total miles. This year's event took 50 plus teams from the majestic scenery of the Grand Canyon for some of the fastest gravel stages ever experienced in North American, to the spectator friendly Super Special stages held just off the Casino strip in the heart of Laughlin Nevada.
"Finishing this event on the podium is a serious relief for the team. We needed to come here and show everyone that the TatoMotorsports cars are as strong and reliable as we know they are," Commented George Plsek Jr. Driver for TatoMotorsports U.S. Rally Team. "We had a season filled with little problems that lead to race retirements, so this result is especially important to us."
The Ramada Express International Rally wasn't completed without some technical obstacles. The Team's top-end speed was seriously limited due to a gearbox with a short gear ratio. This setup does give a car more acceleration, but less top end speed which severally limited the car from being able to handle the high speed roads. So the team changed their tactics for the race.
"We tried to limit the amount of time that we knew we would lose on those ultra fast stages, we had to wait for the twisty and technical stages where we could try to make back some time." George Plsek Jr. "There was nothing we could do, but sit there and bounce off the rev-limiter on the straights. It's difficult to give up that (much speed) and think you still have a chance at wining. So we just tried to limit our losses as best we could."
But if the lack of top end speed wasn't enough for the Team to overcome, a faulty turbo blow off value was found on day three of the race that was robbing the engine of pressure which resulted in a loss of horsepower. Luckily, the Team Engineers quickly replaced the offending part, and the Team was rewarded with fastest stage times on the final three stages of the event.
"We had a tough time scoring Championship points this season," Jeff Burmeister commented after the race. "So it's great to be able to come here, battle it out with some very talented teams and be rewarded at the end by being able to spray some champagne. We just didn't have enough road left at the end to challenge for a higher spot on the podium. But this is still a great way to finish out our season."
The TatoMotorsports U.S. Rally Team now has to contend with one of the shortest off seasons in all of motor sport. Only a brief six-week break is available to the Team before the first round of the 2005 National Championship season.