Although everything didn’t go exactly as planned, Whiteout Rally made it through the weekend in one piece and finished the event. Friday went surprisingly well, we were able to complete 2 passes on Seventeen South and Fir Mountain, and 1 on Gihouley. We felt good about our notes, especially for it being both Tuesday and I’s first time writing them. The car showed up while we were still out on recce, so as soon as we got into the service park we hoped in to take offfor tech. Just as we were going to pull out, Tuesday noticed our tail lights weren’t working. A few quick checks found a fuse under the hood was to blame and we were off to the Parkdale fire department. Just after we had got the all clear from inspection and were about to pull out, a fire was called in. Trying our best to stay out of everyone’s way, we happily sat in the car watching the volunteer fireman’s trucks come flying into the station and the occupants jumping out and into their gear. After the firetruck raced off, we headed back to the service park to put the car under the tent for the night. The brakes felt a bit soft so we planned to get up a few hours early and bleed them one more time to clear any remaining bubbles that may have been hiding in the handbrake.

Graeme and myself left the hotel around 6am and headed to the service park under the cover of dark. We got a few small bubbles out of the brakes, and started to put the wheels back on. As I began to tighten the drivers rear, I heard a loud crack and felt a pop in the lug wrench. Ugh Oh. The rotor had cracked all the way through at what appeared to be a casting flaw. It started at the threaded hole for removing a seized rotor, and went straight through the hat and rotor face. Initially we thought this was only a minor setback, as Graeme had picked up spares on his way up to Mt. Hood. It wasn’t until we opened the box did we realize we had been given the incorrect rotor. Instead of being vented, they were solid casts, about a quarter inch thinner and smaller in diameter. Since we had new pads and with only minutes remaining before park expose, we decided it would be safe enough to run these as no one else had the correct spare. We threw it on and pulled the car over to park expose, but as I left, someone noticed the wheel was wobbling. I was forced to pull the car out of Park Expose to continue to work on the brakes and incur a large penelty. We found the rotor had a small difference in the center hub diameter (the STi hub flares about 1mm just before the seat) so it was preventing the rotor lying flat. With just less then 5 minutes before our departure time, we got the car driving! We decided it would be safest to run our proportioning valve set to largely front brake bias, and off we went.
The first stage went well, we caught the AMAZING Saab about 2 miles into stage, and were stuck behind them for quite some time. We were happy with how are notes were written and with how the car was driving, even with some problems (our intercoms weren’t working, and our center diff controller was locked at 50/50 bias). We were having a bit of trouble getting the car to step out on the entry into the turns, and we had to back off in a bunch of spots with the brakes only at about 75%. Second stage went very well, even with a small spin just a couple turns before the finish. It was a downhill turn that was a bit more wet then other parts of the stage. The rear end just stepped out and even with full throttle wouldn’t come back. We managed to keep it down the center of the road and finished the stage just over a minute off the lead. We proceeded through the longest stage, Fir Mountain, with some caution as we didn’t know if the front brakes would take the increased load on such a long stage. Before our second service, we headed back for a second pass of road Seventeen. We again caught the car in front of us and were stuck for a little while. Even so, we dropped 44 seconds off our first time to finish 55 seconds off the top time. After a quick service where we grabbed some food and rehydrate we took and lined up in our newly re-seeded order (we had moved up 3 spots throughout the first stages and 2 during reseed). Only a mile into the stage, we experienced a major mechanical issue. The car had gone into limp mode and wouldn’t reset without removing the negative cable of the batter. Tuesday jumped out with the triangles and I got the cable off the terminal battery. By time we got going and finished the stage we were over 7 minutes behind our previous time. For the rest of the event we backed off to preserve the car and just get seat time. Although we ended up almost last, we were still happy having finished the event. Without the penelties we were forced to take and breaking down on stage, we felt very good about our individual stage times. I had a good feeling of how much harder we could have pushed, and look forward to the next event where we could start to go more on the attack with a properly functioning car. Thanks to everyone who had helped us get to here, and to Bruce and others for the photos in this post; see his website