17th Rally Becomes First Points Rally DNF for Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team Boulder, CO - After running 16 rallies as a team the, 2006 Colorado Cog Rally became the first rally the Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team failed to finish.
17th Rally Becomes First Points Rally DNF for Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team
Boulder, CO - After running 16 rallies as a team the, 2006 Colorado Cog Rally became the first rally the Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team failed to finish. The Colorado Cog Rally, based in Steamboat Springs, CO, has become one of the fastest and toughest events in the Rally-America National Championship with its high-altitude, fast, mountain stages being taxing on vehicles and forcing drivers to be very mindful of their speed in the changing terrain.
Held in late fall in the mountains of Colorado, severe weather is always a risk at the Colorado Cog Rally; for 2006 it would prove to be a significant factor with rain and snow forecasted for the week leading up to the rally. At the Parc Expose held the night before the event began drivers were contemplating strategy for the stages on Saturday. "With the roads likely to be very muddy we will be putting lots of extra cuts in our Hankook rally tires to help them keep the tread blocks clear so we can get maximum grip in the sloppy conditions", stated Flatirons driver Tanner Foust.
After multiple days of precipitation the roads that make up the rally route were extremely wet as drivers expected and the conditions forced the cancellation of two of the morning stages on Saturday after road opening crews reported the roads as impassable. With Stages 2 and 4 cancelled the teams were scheduled to complete Stages 1 and 3, then head to a brief service before tackling Stages 5 and 6. Conditions on Stages 1 and 3 proved to be extremely difficult with most teams leaving the road multiple teams on each stage. When asked about the conditions Foust reported, "the stages are really slippy and the road is almost impossible to read, the grip changes from corner to corner, I'd rather be driving on snow and ice".
At the end of the first day the Flatirons Rally Team had built a lead of 46.6 seconds over class rival Matthew Johnson after exchanging stage wins on the morning stages. "We knew Matt would be right there battling with us on the stages like last year, but given the conditions we really focused on running our own pace and trying to be fast but not take any big risks," said co-driver Scott Crouch.
Sunday started with the fast Sage Creek Special Stage and the Flatirons Rally Team picked up where they left off taking class wins on all four morning stages and building a lead of over 90 seconds heading into the final stage. Just after starting the last stage of the rally the Flatirons Team went into a twisty section with steep exposures immediately off the right side of the road. Approaching a left hand turn in a series of quick turns the car drove through a pothole that abruptly popped the rear of the car into the air. The Flatirons Rally Car was instantly thrown off the road and down a 25ft+ drop crashing hard into the ground below.
"We went into Stage 17 with a pretty big lead. We had been driving our own pace to stay focused on stage and felt we were avoiding unnecessary risks. It is competition, however, and this is a reminder of how a seemingly small surface change can upset the car in a big way at 75+mph. It's tough to not finish our home event, the Flatirons Tuning Subaru WRX was great all weekend and our Hankook rally tires gave us great traction in light of the changing and slick conditions. This is our first DNF at a points rally in a long time and I think that speaks well of the quality of the car Flatirons Tuning delivers us and the level we strive for as a team." Stated Foust at the end of the event.
Both Scott and Tanner were taken to Yampa Valley Hospital after safety crews arrived on scene for examination X-Rays as a precautionary measure. Both were released Sunday evening with only minor muscle injuries and soreness.