FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2001
For more information,
Contact: Patrick Richard
Rocket Rally Racing
VANCOUVER, BC -- While it was running near the front of the pack at the Wild West ProRally, Vancouver-based Rocket Rally Racing had to retire its Open class Subaru Impreza - the car wheels were locked completely due to an unknown drivetrain failure.
The event, the eighth round of the 2001 SCCA ProRally Championship, was held September 7 and 8 on about 530 kilometres of fast, rough gravel lumber roads in Olympia Washington, southwest of Seattle. The event saw a record number of entries.
While in fifth place overall, the team ran into some problems. During a downshift from fifth gear, the Impreza's centre differential froze up, locking the rear wheels completely. The car was un-moveable, despite the best efforts of spectators and crew. "We couldn't even push the car out of the way; other cars had to negotiate around us. We eventually had to drag it down the mountain," explained co-driver Ben Bradley.
"This was definitely the most disappointing rally of my career," said Patrick Richard, Rocket Rally Driver. This was one of the first events for his Open class Subaru Impreza, which, although new, is in its later stages of development. "Despite having some niggling problems on Friday night, including driving some stages with no lights, we were still setting Top 5 stage times. When we experienced our problem, we were actually ahead of the eventual winner and only a few seconds shy of the other podium finishers. I was confident that we were within reach of our first US podium finish, and that is what is most frustrating, especially in front of our home crowd. It's crushing."
Despite the non-finish, the team gained some valuable test information about the car, which has seen limited running time. "Before this, we hadn't been able to gauge the car against the other machines out there. I think the speed that Patrick is getting out of the car is at least on par with the top Group N entries and just short of the manufacturer teams," explained crew chief Dave Clark, who worked with John Lane of Pacific Rim Automotive to re-tune the engine just prior to the event.
"The whole mission of this program was for me to gain seat time in a higher spec rally car - and to let the speed develop over time. So, from that perspective we are moving in the right direction," explained Richard. "That said, we need to improve the reliability of the package and the performance of the team. I intend to make major changes in order to accomplish that. Driving quickly is only a small part of the equation, and if we don't finish we're not maximizing our exposure opportunities."
In addition to being part of the three-car Subaru Canada Rally Team, Rocket Rally Racing is supported in the 2001 SCCA ProRally Championship by SPD Tuning, OMP and DMS Suspension. The team's next event is the Rally of the Voyageurs, September 28-30.
Patrick Richard, Rocket Rally Driver
p. (604) 803-6095