Emotional Roller Coaster for Flatirons Tuning Rally Team at Ojibwe Forests Pro Rally Boulder, CO -- The 2007 Ojibwe Forests Pro Rally marked the first time competing for the Flatirons Tuning Rally Team in the Northern Minnesota event (the team...
Emotional Roller Coaster for Flatirons Tuning Rally Team at Ojibwe Forests Pro Rally
Boulder, CO -- The 2007 Ojibwe Forests Pro Rally marked the first time competing for the Flatirons Tuning Rally Team in the Northern Minnesota event (the team officially made an entry in the event in 2006 but none of the current team members were on hand for that effort). As the seventh event in the championship and first event after the ESPN X Games the Ojibwe Forests Pro Rally marked an important step in the quest for national championships.
"Ojibwe is going to be a very important and difficult rally for us. Nobody on the team has been to this rally and there are a lot of night stages and the road surface changes a lot. Plus, we need to take maximum advantage of Patrick Moro [the 2007 Production GT Championship leader] sitting out of this rally and try to get back into the thick of the championship." Stated driver Stephan Verdier.
Overall the first day of the rally ended fairly well for the Flatirons Tuning Rally Team. "On stage two, the first real stage of the rally we saw that Matthew Johnson [2006 Champion and the only other Production GT contender to win multiple events in the class] had gone off the road. At the service we had a 30 second lead over the next competitor in class and none of our championship rivals to worry about. Because of our good road position for the night stages we were able to build a lead of a little over 7 minutes on the rest of the stages." Noted co-driver Scott Crouch.
With a big lead in hand the strategy for day two was to take it easy and try not to make any mistakes and just manage the lead. "We started the second day not wanting to push but intercom problems on stage 10 caused us to go off twice and damage the right suspension. After that we wanted to try to take it easy and not damage the car any more so we could just get to the finish without any drama, something that can be very difficult in rally." Stated Crouch.
Despite the damage to the car the Flatirons Tuning duo went into the final set of stages with over 12 minutes on their next challenger and would extend that lead to 14 minutes before their rally would come to a devastating end on stage 15. "I didn't feel like we were taking big risks but it can be hard to fully concentrate and not make mistakes when you aren't pushing 100%. We came into a left three with a rock outside and Scott made the call and I went to set the car up and turn in but the car just wouldn't turn and we ended up off the road stuck on rocks almost in a lake. We tried everything we could for the next 10 to 15 minutes trying to get the car unstuck but it wasn't going to move without a tow. This rally was very important to our championship hopes, a win here would have put us one point out of the lead and to DNF on the last stage with a huge lead, well, we're speechless." Said a dejected Verdier.
"We'll take the car back to Flatirons Tuning and see if we can get it repaired and running 100% for our home event, Rally Colorado, in late September and go from there with regards to the championship." Said Crouch.