26 Jan Sno*Drift Conditions Create Challenging Rally
Article originally written for American Rally Association website here.
Atlanta, Michigan (January 26, 2019)
44 miles of Sno*Drift Rally are dusted and the talk in the paddock is all about the conditions.
Below zero temperatures, slick roads, and dark skies make for one of the most challenging rallies in years.
Car control is the name of the game this weekend. The racing surface in Michigan this weekend is a thin layer of snow on top of several inch thick ice. The snow provides some traction, but is easily swept away. Fortunately for drivers, a small safety net lines nearly every mile of stage road, snow banks that competitors can bounce off of. But that safety net can easily become a hazard.
Snowbanks swallowed multiple competitors who slide wide in corners. Some managed to dig themselves out, while others were pulled out by fellow rallyists. Good sportsmanship in a time of intense competition..
74 more stage miles today separate competitors from the finish. Here’s how some of the competitors handled yesterday’s tough stages.
Barry McKenna and Leon Jordan hold the overall Sno*Drift Rally lead after 6 stages and the start of Day 2. The team is running a clean rally and won all of the yesterday’s stages. Piotr Fetela and Dominik Jozwiak are in second after an off-pace start to the rally’s first loop. They picked up the pace for Friday’s night stages and are running close stage times to McKenna.
Cameron Steely and Preston Osborn of O.D.D. Racing hold a podium position in their now Open4WD-spec Subaru STI. The pair had a few small moments, but have otherwise kept it clean.
Jon Kramer and Jason Smith hold fourth overall in a Naturally Aspirated 4WD class car. They’re proving that you don’t need a turbo to be fast. Travis Nease and Matt James are in fifth overall after running a clean and consistent day.
Brad Morris and Doug Nagy lead Open 2WD in a FWD Mitsubishi Lancer. The team is very happy with their class lead and sixth overall position after 6 stages.
Local favorites Shawn MacDonald and Jonathan Cannis are having a great rally in “The Punisher” Honda Civic. They’re entertaining the crowd while finishing Friday fast in seventh overall.
Eighth overall at the start of today’s stages were Jimmy Pelizzari and Kate Stevens. The pair had a good start to Sno*Drift, but fell back from fourth overall after getting stuck in a snowbank for 10 minutes on Friday night.
Zach Whitebread and Cameron Carr suffered a series of spins because of a driveline issue. They’re pressing on today.
Tim Rooney and Anthony Vohs of PMR Motorsports had an early end to Friday’s stages. The pair punctured two tires in a single stage loop and only carried one spare. They restarted today under the rally restart rule. Keanna Erickson-Chang and Alex Gelsomino were also forced to restart today after only making it 8 turns into stage 1 before suffering mechanical troubles.
We’ll have more updates as cars come into Service 1.