On Friday night of the Rally we were doing OK. Better pace than I expected, but everyone else was going pretty fast as well.
We ended going a little wide on stage one and hit the infamous fence at PIR with the right rear of the car, a glancing blow, it didn't slow us down, but it did claim a tail-lamp. We replaced a rear link that night because it had a slight bend, but no real damage to the car.
Saturday morning rolled around quickly and we were off to start stages in Hood River, OR. B-E-A-utiful area with Mount Hood and other snow capped peaks visible in the distance. I felt good and after the first real stage we had regained some time and 3 places in Super Production and a few more overall. We came back to service with little to report to the crew other than a few more rocks in the road than we had expected. These rocks would be our demise on the next stage.
Stage 6 started and we had a great pace even though the rocks kept creeping on to the road. By the end of the 11 mile stage we were catching up to the car in front of us and dust became a big issue. The stage opened up out of the woods and there was a few long straights followed by some high speed corners. We came through one of the long straights with a good amount of speed, but as the corner approached I was blinded by the huge cloud of dust created by the car in front of us. By the time the dust had cleared it was too late and I had not slowed down enough for the corner. We hit a rock with the right front tire and the wheel exploded we landed in a field of other rocks that continued to damage the underside of the car.
All said and done 3/4 wheels were damaged (possibly unrepairable ) , the Skid Plate (Sump guard), Oil pan was bashed in, and possibly the oil sump. In Rally, its called a DNF (did not finish), and that sucks, but its better then damaging the car further.
Currently the car is still in transit from the west coast and I should have it in my hands by early morning . The work begins with only 10 days to rebuild and deliver to STPR. A tall order, but one I am willing to take on.
I will be honest, there was a time this past weekend where both my father and I had given up. That's right. I was going to fix the car and put it up for sale. I am not sure when, probably after a few drinks at the bar, but we both agreed that we were not the type to give up this easily. We have so much time, love, sweat and tears (and $) in to this sport and I think we might have been even more disappointed had we given up. At this point in time we are going to persevere and head on to the next race with even more enthusiasm to finish and finish well.
Watch for us at STPR.
We will be ready and we will finish strong!