February 3rd 2020, Montreal
Last weekend was the begining of the Canadian Rally Championship with the 55th edition of the “Perce-Neige” Rally in Maniwaki. We were really impatient to kick off the 2020 season!
We were confident entering the event with a car in perfect shape.
The recce went well on Friday. The conditions were perfect, the temperature was good. For the forest stages, our favorite’s and the more important of the rally were even in better shape.
A good test session before the event
Friday night, we held a press conference to talk about all our news for the new season. First, we presented our new 2020 livery with our new sponsors. Then we talked about the new contingency program that Hoosier Racing Tires will offer to all podium finisher in every class! We also talked about our new rally brake system that we developed in partnership with Stoptech Brakes.
We also mentioned the add of two new partners of the team in 2020. Mediatech in our supplier at AMP Digital for all our vinyl, banner and paper needs. The Artitalia Group is a great partner of us in business and they are now also helping us with the rally team!
One of our 2020 project is the become the first Carbon Neutral Canadian Rally Team. We will work on that project with our partners. Hoosier started to develop a new tire technology that generate less waste.
After our conference, I had the chance to give a ride to the mayor of Maniwaki in our rally car during the shakedown. It was really nice to give her a taste of our passion.
Saturday morning: The Rally Starts!
Because of bad brakes adjustment with our new brake system, we have had difficulties at the beginning of the event.
After the 3 first stages, we finaly found the solution to get it right and were able to take back the lost time. Back at the service park after the first loop we were sitting in 6th 0.8s from 5th place and 20 sec from 3rd place.
Our brake problem from earlier were fixed and it was now time to take back the lost time in our favorite stages : Kitigan Zibi(40.2KM), Cayaman Lake(14.4KM) and the famous Tortue(29KM)!
In Kitigan Zibi 1, we gave everything that we had to give and maybe a bit more… We got the second fastest time of this stage even tough we spun in stage(lost 20 seconds) and broke a suspension arm which made the car really hard to drive (lost 10-15 seconds).
At this point we climbed back to P3 with 40 seconds overs P4. We were now on the right track to get what we wanted out of this event!
During the next two stages, we were really careful not to break everything and to be able to go back to service and repair.
The Cayaman lake stage was a perfect race management. We were careful not to touch the snowbanks on the right in order to keep everything in its current state. It gave us the 3rd time which was great due to the conditions.
It was now time for the Tortue stage, in which, all our hope faded away… The start of the stage was perfect and fast. I was getting comfortable with the effect of the broken suspension arm until we took one slippery curve a bit too fast. This little error gave us a puncture with 15km to go until the end of the stage, with now place so stop and change it in stage. The end of the regional event was also at the end of that stage… We had no choice other than to continue on the flat tire. After 14km with a pace that wasn’t too bad, the tire exploded which then took out the interior of the flare. Then the tire started to destroy the wire harness of the car which eventually cut the engine off…
1KM later, we would have won the regional event (RSQ). No other competitors we able to pass us in stage with all the problem we had. Since the damage was too big, we had no choice but to retire.
Photo by Jason Nugent
In the next few weeks, we will work on getting the car back in shape from Perce-Neige 2020 and getting ready for the next event of the CRC calendar. Maybe Rocky Mountain Rally…
Stay tuned for more details on the Hoosier Rally Tires Contingency program at hoosierrally.ca
A text from Nicolas Laverdière