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Anatomy of a Rally Service 


 Photos: Lars Gange | rally.subaru.com

SPECTATORS AT A RALLY SERVICE SEE CARS PULLING IN AFTER A NUMBER OF STAGES TO BE TENDED TO BY TECHNICIANS, WHO ARE SOMETIMES THE DRIVERS/CO-DRIVERS THEMSELVES. AT THE SUBARU RALLY TEAM USA (SRT USA) SERVICE AREA, CREWMEN SWARM OVER THE TWO CARS FOR A FEW MINUTES OF SERVICE ON THE YELLOW TARPS UNDER THE SUBARU TENTS DELINEATED FOR EACH CAR. 

 

Rally service looks frantic and disorganized. Crewmen jack up the mud- and dirt-crusted cars and remove wheels. They crawl underneath the cars, sometimes removing skid plates, suspension pieces, driveline components, and body parts. Conversations are brief. The hood is raised, and one of the technicians pokes and prods to determine fluid levels and to check for possible damage.

 

A countdown of the remaining service time is clear to everyone – both by clock and by voice. A couple minutes before time runs out, the crew refits the car with wheels and the driver backs out. You feel like you’ve witnessed a frenzied ritual, and sorting it out can be difficult. 

 

Driving away, the cars look refreshed, with new tires and clean exterior surfaces, especially the window glass.

 

Of course, nothing is as disorganized as it appears. That’s what we want to show here by focusing on a few members of SRT USA. They’ll help to make sense out of what happens during a typical service stop. We’ll feature some personnel not the full teams that take care of SRT USA’s #40 and #75 WRX STI rally cars – just a few of the key team members.

 

Some of them serve both cars, and others generally work only on #75:

  • Craig Drew – co-driver for David Higgins in the #75 WRX STI
  • Clint Fast – team manager
  • Jonathan Carey – team engineer
  • Shaun Jacobs – lead technician for #75 WRX STI

 

CRAIG DREW ON BEING A CO-DRIVER

 

“I work closely with the team, particularly Dan [Anctil – logistics coordinator] and Clint Fast, in organizing everything we need prior to each event, whether it is flight information, team clothing, or general information for the next event to allow David [Higgins] and I to do as much pre-event prep as we can. I will study previous years’ stage times, search for footage of the previous year’s event on YouTube, etc., and then provide this information to David a week before the rally so he can then also get a general feel for it.

 

“I do my own event schedule for David and then cross-check that with the one that the team provides to ensure that I am happy with everything.

 

“I also complete a recce [reconnaissance] schedule, so it reduces the amount of work I need to do after registration.”

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