RAmer: Flatirons Rally Team season review

Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team 2006 Season Recap Boulder, CO -- On December 3, 2006, the Rally America National Championship came to a close with the Wild West Rally based out of Olympia, WA. With most of the championship titles already...

Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team 2006 Season Recap

Boulder, CO -- On December 3, 2006, the Rally America National Championship came to a close with the Wild West Rally based out of Olympia, WA. With most of the championship titles already decided at previous rallies many teams were missing from the season finale. For the Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team the end of the 2006 National Championship season brought to close a bittersweet season. After charging out of the gate to defend their 2005 Production GT National Championship with wins at the first two events of the year, the Sno Drift and 100 Acre Wood rallies, the team then encountered problems that prevented top finishes at the next two rallies, the Oregon Trails and the Susquehannock Trail rallies.

In the final round before the first ESPN X Games rally, an even in which only 12 teams competed in, 3 more were there for exhibition purposes, the Flatirons Rally Team headed to the Maine Forest Rally for one final event to get prepared for their debut in the Rockstar Energy Drink Subaru for the X Games. The Maine event saw the tables turn for the Flatirons Team as they took the win, "winning Maine in the PGT class was important for us, we had had a couple of bad finishes and needed to score maximum points to stay in the championship and we wanted to get dialed in for the X games", state driver Tanner Foust.

The team headed to the X Games Rally with a new look and a new car, but the bad luck that had plagued them earlier in the season and a delay at the start of Special Stage Four saw the team have a tire go flat in the start area forcing them to change the tire inside the stage costing them valuable time and sending them falling down the score board. "The X Games was an incredible experience, Tanner drove so well and the Rockstar Energy Drink car was amazing, we had high hopes for the event and it is too bad that our finish didn't reflect how well the car and us as a team were working together", noted co-driver Scott Crouch.

After the X Games the Flatirons Team returned to the task of defending their 2005 Championship and headed to the Ojibwe Forests Rally. Previously not on the team's schedule for 2006 because of a drifting event conflict for Foust, the team headed to Ojibwe with interim co-driver Chrissie Beavis sitting in for the absent Scott Crouch. The team once again set out with blisteringly fast stage times moving up to 3rd overall before striking a concealed rock on the inside of a fast blind turn and ripping the front left wheel off of the car. "At Ojibwe we were running really well, the Flatirons Tuning Subaru WRX was running great and after settling back into the PGT car and getting synched up with Chrissie we were running just awesome. When we hit the boulder we were trying to run real conservatively to not take any risks and somehow managed to just hit the boulder with a wheel and repairing the damage set us real far down the order in the results." Said Foust.

With the pressure on for their championship aspirations the team headed to their home event, the Colorado Cog Rally, held in Steamboat Springs, CO. After pulling a comfortable lead on the first day in very difficult muddy conditions over championship leader Matthew Johnson the team headed into the last stage of the rally needing only to finish to win their class and get back into the championship hunt. Less than a mile into the stage the team went into a quick series of turns, while trying to straighten out the turns to go as fast as possible the right rear tire clipped a hole in the road causing the rear of the car to shoot to the left and sending the team head first off of an exposure at over 75 mph. After numerous rolls and a very hard initial impact the team was able to exit the vehicle to signal they were ok to the next competitors on the road. "The crash we had at Cog was probably the worst I have ever experienced as a driver. When we clipped the hole in the road the back of the car just shot to the side and there was nothing Tanner could do to correct before we were flying off of the road. We ended up totaling the car and the impact was severe enough that Tanner and I were taken for X-rays and to be cleared by doctors. That was the first of 17 points scoring rallies where we failed to reach the final time control which is a real testament to just how much this team has progressed." Recalled Foust, the team has placed video of the crash on their website listed below.

With their competition vehicle destroyed and Johnson with a healthy margin in the championship the team sat down to evaluate their options and look to making plans for the 2007 Rally America National Championship. "After Cog we had to sit down and decide it we wanted to go out and try to rent or buy a running PGT car to challenge Matt for the championship or if we should turn our eyes to working with Rockstar Energy Drink for an Open Class car for 2007. Hopefully we'll be able to make an official announcement soon about our plans for 2007 now that the 2006 season is officially over." Stated Foust.

With the 2006 Rally America National Championship over the team took a minute to reflect on the season: "Racing with Matt (Johnson) this year was fantastic. Unfortunately we both seemed to encounter mechanical problems that kept us from both running at 100% all rally and we were able to pull some healthy leads at some rallies because of that. The battles that we had with Matt made us better as a team and we are really happy for Matt to be able to win the 2006 Production GT Rally America National Championship after all the hard work he put forth." Said Foust.

"During the 2006 season I got to see Tanner do some of the best driving I have ever seen. We were very fast at most of the events and for the main part Tanner was able to conserve the car, most of the problems we had were freak accidents that couldn't have been avoided. Getting to participate in the first X Games Rally as one of only 12 teams, and one of the first 8 invited was incredible. At the end of the year we have to look at the positives as we get ready for the 2007 season." Said Crouch.

The Team:

For the Flatirons Rally Team this announcement was the marking of coming of age for the young team. In just under two and a half years the Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally Team has gone from a group of passionate friends to one of the top rally teams in the United States. The team competed select events in 2003 with a similarly limited schedule in 2004. It wasn't until 2005 that the Flatirons Rally Team set out for a full season long championship campaign. In 2005 the driving duo of Foust and Crouch became Production GT National Champions in their largely stock Subaru WRX after one of the closest and most competitive championship battles of the entire series.

Flatirons Subaru, in Boulder, CO, is the largest Subaru dealership in Colorado and is proud to once again support the Flatirons Subaru and Tuning Rally team in their quest for excellence. Vishnu Tuning, Perry's Boulder Autobody, Hankook Tires, Enkei Wheels, Invidia, Beta Tools, Red Line Oil, and Sparco continue to provide the team with sponsorship support throughout the Rally America Championship. The team has yet to announce its sponsorship partners for the X Games Rally.

The Driver:

Tanner Foust, born in Denver, CO, has quickly become one of the most skilled drivers in the Rally-America Championship and one of the most sought after performance drivers in Hollywood. He has done appearances on Good Morning America, the Discovery Channel, and CNN as well as appearances and stunt work for Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Pontiac, and many more. Foust had his first major theatrical performance doing stunt and performance car control driving in the 2005 Warner Brother's release of the "Dukes of Hazzard".

Foust also performed a major role in the upcoming 2006 Universal Studios Summer Block Buster, the Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift, where he served as stunt driving double for one of the two driving protagonists.

Foust also regularly competes in the Formula Drift drifting series and in 2006 will campaign the AEM / Memphis Car Audio Nissan 350Z.

The Co-Driver:

Scott Crouch is the co-driver for the Flatirons Rally Team and is the General manger for Flatirons Imports, home of the largest Subaru Dealership in Colorado. Scott serves as the team manager as well as the co-driver. In performance rallying the co-driver serves as a navigator reading detailed instructions that describe the route of the road as the team attempts to navigate the course as quickly as possible, with a skilled co-driver a driver is able to drive faster and commit more in the corners.

The Sport:

Performance or Stage Rally is the world's second largest and one of the oldest forms of motor sport, reaching over 801 million viewers world wide in 2005, and is a pinnacle of automotive technology and car control. Teams compete in, street legal, production based vehicles in a variety of different classes. Times are taken from closed road sections called stages which consist of a wide range of surfaces, including but not limited to, ice, snow, gravel, mud, and sand, where teams drive as fast as possible in an exercise of all out automotive and driver performance. This exciting and challenging form of motor sport is one of the most visually stunning exercises of all out car and driver performance.

-credit: flatironsrallyteam

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Matthew Johnson , Chrissie Beavis , Tanner Foust , Scott Crouch