The greatest compliment to our efforts was that a few people came up to us that morning and couldn’t believe our car was the same one they saw pulled off the mountain the day before.
Our driver, Scott Crouch, was happy with the car as well, and he qualified us solidly in the middle of the Time Attack Class. Not bad for a Production GT rally car.
Both our team and our car were ready, but the Time Attack Class was slated to run last. So we had a chance to walk around and see the other cars that were running.
As we watched Romain Dumas and Rhys Millen break the old record time up the mountain, our excitement and anticipation began to build. But there were a few serious crashes throughout the day, and that caused the race to run longer and longer. As we sat in line, word started coming down that there was rain, and possibly heavy rain, at the summit.
Because you never know what is going to happen in a rally, you have to be prepared for anything. With that in mind, we had brought a set of rain tires with us. As we sat on the start line, we had a hard decision to make. Slick race tires are great on dry pavement, but if we hit rain, we might as well be driving on ice. But if we started on rain tires, we would be a good deal slower due to loss of grip, and we could burn off a lot of the tread if we didn’t find some rain.
So we kept the slick tires on as long as possible. However, the longer we sat, the worse things were getting at the summit. In the end, we decided to put on the rain tires and hoped that it would pay off at the top.
And pay off it did: Scott put down some respectable times in the first two sectors, and as he got close to the top, he ran into two inches of hail. Thankfully our tire selection gave him some traction. He made the decision to slow down and made it safely to the top. Conditions were so bad that the car behind us ended up rolling after the driver lost control because the car was on racing slicks. A few cars after us, PPIHC shortened the race to half distance because conditions at the top were so bad.
After all that, we didn’t get to see how our car stacked up against our competition. But we did run the race, and we did finish, and in the process we learned a lot.
We are already getting the car ready for this year’s PPIHC. We’re planning on a larger turbo and intend to play with the center differential in the 6-speed to give us a bit more grip.
The PPIHC is an event that the Flatirons Rally Team greatly anticipates, hopefully for years to come.