FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2001
Contact: Randy Zimmer
Buffalo, New York -- Rookie Rally driver and Buffalo, NY resident, Randy Zimmer and veteran STPR entrant and co-driver, Canadian Peter Watt teamed up for the first time at the 2001 Susquehannock Trail ProRally this past weekend. Not only did the team complete this demanding and action filled rally without any damage or breakage, they finished a respectable 15th out of the 90 entrants and 51 finishers.
The weather played a major role in this year's rally. The usually dusty conditions of the Pennsylvania roads were changed to mud during heavy downpours. The low but reliable horsepower from the naturally-aspirated engine, the superior grip of the Subaru all wheel drive along with Kumho's newly introduced rally tire was the perfect set-up for the muddy conditions. "the available grip was so low, spectators were having near misses just driving the roads to viewing points at walking speed!" Zimmer said, "Our car was very controllable and predictable, picking our way past spinners and rollovers while maintaining a pace only two minutes slower than our dry times earlier in the day!"
Crew members Ann and Alan Jordan, Ryan Schramm and Bill Lass mounted a new pair of Kumhos on the front and a pair of additional fog lamps along with the existing KC pencil beams that took what appeared to be a bad situation and made it into a golden opportunity. "While Peter was hearing that teams were planning on stroking to the finish, we kept pressing on, never reducing our effort." Zimmer continued, "The car was as solid as it was at the start and I was getting used to the STPR roads. Some turns and straights were at times actually familiar! Although the rain made the terrain sloppy and the going treacherous, all the advantages were in our favor so there was no reason to back off."
Because rallies are run more like qualifying than a wheel to wheel race, contestants are separated by a 60 second interval and teams are started in an order of projected speed, fastest first. The STPR start order placed the first time ProRally driver 58th out of the 90 starters, at the end of stage 4, the team had moved to 31st. At the long service just before the rain and darkness, the team had moved to 24th. At the last service, the team had sloshed and slid into the top 20 and was ranked 16th. The final two stages were drying out and Zimmer and Watt gained just one more position to grab 15th overall and first in seed 4. Being one of only two first-time teams entered, the result was considered by insiders to be outstanding.
"I had never even been to a performance rally before this year," said Zimmer. "In January, I decided to try out the sport since I had tried just about every class in road racing and the ones I hadn't, I couldn't afford. I went to a rally school and found I both had a knack for it and it didn't seem to bother my back. I bought what I was told was a legal PGT car and then found out it was far from that with many items that didn't make the car faster, just more reliable. I didn't have enough money left to buy the stock parts to make it PGT legal again so I now just enter Open and keep driving." Whatever Zimmer's method, it is working. Over the three months he's been competing, the Subaru has never let him down. Zimmer's record has two OA wins at the Cherokee Trails Club Rallies, a second OA at Ski Sawmill, a fourth and ninth OA at Sandhills Club Rally and now this ProRally result. Randy credits Red Line's synthetic oils as a secret to the car's reliability along with concentrating on driving and preparation rather than modifications. "Everyone talks horsepower in the paddock, I don't think I have what the car was delivered with, but that's OK. The sport is new to me and I have no reason to make the learning process harder with increased straightaway speeds, harder braking, increased wear and a turbo's unpredictability. I attended the Rally Town Meeting after the STPR and plan to talk with Bruce Donnay from StohlmanAuto.com about getting a newer Subaru I can prepare by myself from the ground up to meet the new SCCA vision of ProRally. Bruce has come forward as a friend of the sport and is proving to be a great ally to have in my corner."
The Sports Car Club of America ProRally Championship is the nation's only performance rally series and features uniquely varied venues coast-to-coast. Teams compete flat out against the clock for hundreds of miles over closed-to-the-public forestry roads separated into a series of special stages. A co-driver tells the driver where jumps, dangerous turns or other obstacles are to the hundredth of a mile by utilizing a route book while competing. All events are televised on Speedvision. www.speedvision.com