"OLYMPUS INTERNATIONAL RALLY -- ANOTHER USRC CLASS WIN FOR RALLYNOTES.COM TEAM!"
With seven production class starters on Saturday, the team knew they would have to be strong on the first stages to claim victory in the North West. The hard packed roads took a toll on tires and competitors the first day. "You either know how to drive fast on these roads or you don't. The learning curve is steep, and there is a ditch filled with rocks and trees at the bottom of it," said driver Kristopher Marciniak. "These are just like the roads I grew up on in New Hampshire and Maine. Driving fast through the trees is such a rush!" They set their mark by finishing 17th overall out of 33 starters and 2nd in the regional production class on Saturday. "It was fun to run with so many production class cars this weekend. The roads are great and we really enjoyed ourselves," said co-driver Christine Wittish.
Not completely without incident the volunteer crew encountered a sub-frame mount that was cracked and ready to break. Some last minute help from the Kosmides crew got it welded and out of service with seconds to spare. Erik VanDyke, Matthew Laverty, Jason Sampson, and Jordan Luzader worked hard to keep the Dodge Rally Neon in the running all weekend. Unlike the regional crews, the car was impounded on Saturday night in Parc Ferme so overnight repair was not allowed. This is typical of an FIA event and the team was prepared for it.
On Sunday, with the other national production team out of the running and the sub-frame starting to give way again, the team took the last couple stages easy and brought the car back to the Little Creek Casino and rally finish intact. "I could have made a push for third in the regional on Sunday but the car was getting a little wacky to drive and the USRC championship is what we're aiming for," said Kris.
The rallynotes.com team finished on their Bilstein shock absorbers and the newly designed strut mounts. "I had no trouble at all on the harder stages. I took the jump at the ORV-park flat out. Bilstein helped us get it done this weekend," said Kris.
Next up for the team is Gorman Ridge in California, a regional event that marks their one year anniversary competing in rally. The team will return to the national events in October with the Prescott Rally in Arizona.
Kristopher is a computer technician and support analyst working for the Alteer Corporation in Irvine, CA. Christine is a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine in the field of molecular biology and the lab of Dr. Douglas Wallace.