Competitors Feel Sense of Closeness in the 100 Acre Wood Rally Rally America Racers Show How It's Done in the Show-Me State SALEM, MO. - Anyone who has ever participated in - or even watched - a rally event will confirm the competitors feel...
Competitors Feel Sense of Closeness in the 100 Acre Wood Rally
Rally America Racers Show How It's Done in the Show-Me State
SALEM, MO. - Anyone who has ever participated in - or even watched - a rally event will confirm the competitors feel close to another, but the Rally America 100 Acre Wood Rally was ridiculous in that regard.
After 15 stages and 110 miles contested in all kinds of conditions, 38.2- seconds separated the event-winning Subaru Rally Team U.S.A. car of Ken Block from the fourth-place K&N Engineering Subaru driven by Lauchlin O'Sullivan and Scott Putnam.
"Those roads were incredible; I can't remember the last time I had that much fun driving a rally car," said O'Sullivan after the event that saw them win two stages outright. "Especially during the second leg of the second day, wow! I'm hoping next year they double the mileage. We wanted to continue racing after we finished the last stage."
The guys had to persevere through some nagging problems and for that there is a good sense of accomplishment.
"Every leg we had a problem, including not being able to see the road, not being able to hear each other, and culminating with the gear shifter lever breaking on the last two stages," said O'Sullivan, who had a hard time accepting congratulatory handshakes after the finish because of his sore palm. "In each stage we pressed on as best we could in an attempt to lose as little time as possible. And we kept telling ourselves the next leg would get better. Nothing cost us a lot of time, but as a driver, you always say 'what if?' We would have liked to finish on the podium certainly, but we can tell from our quick times that if things are going our way we can give the best of the best in the U.S. a good run for their money."
"Overall we are pleased with the event. Those minor issues sapped small amounts of time throughout the race but we managed to work through those to a successful finish," stated Putnam. "The roads were very fast and flowing with one stage in particular having an average speed of 80 miles-per-hour, although top speeds were 'only' around 110-112 miles-per-hour due to the lack of long straights. Echoing what Lauchlin said, the second leg on Saturday was the most fun I've had in a car since I was a teenager. The last run of the night however was intensity of a different sort due to the fog and the fact that we simply couldn't see. That we were finally able to enjoy successive races showed though in improved crew coordination throughout the race. To sum it up, the roads were a hoot, and Coronas were $2.50 at the Roadhouse Bar, so how can you beat that?"
The guys said you also can't beat the performance of the K&N products on the car, particularly during the low water crossings, or "water bridges" that were strewn through the various stages.
"One of the muddy sections or puddles we must have hit just right - or just wrong as the case may be - because after we went through it the engine ran rough for about six miles," recounted Putnam. "When we came into service you should have seen that air filter! The thing was caked like someone had tried to force-feed the engine a bunch of mud. If that filter had not done the job it the engine would have failed. The last stage of the leg it ran better for obvious reasons and after replacing the filter the engine was good through all the water splashes, mud and sand."
O'Sullivan is also feeling pretty good about their position in the standings; after two events they are now firmly rooted in fifth-place in the Rally America Championship Series and the all-important qualifying chase for this summer's X Games 13.
"We showed we are one of the best teams out here, and garnered some more precious points. As Scott says, 'we are inside the bubble.'"