Dylan and Elliot looked very smooth throughout the day without any incidents. The Relentless Impreza has been through three events already with absolutely nothing being changed on the car (which is pretty amazing when you consider what a rally car gets put through!). Technically they did need to reinforce their skid plate once, but other than that the car has shown no faults or failures!
Rally fans are a “die hard” breed of people. Even with the cold weather, overcast skies, and sprinkling rain there were masses of people lining the stages swinging their cow bells and cheering as the cars whizzed past.
We swung by the service area to meet up with team Relentless in between stages to see how things were going for them. Driver and co-driver were both rock solid composed and ready to tear up the rest of the race. The Impreza is so reliable that their service stops are used to stretch their legs, kick the tires a bit, make sure the engine is still there, and refuel as needed. If the brakes, tires, and suspension worked for the last three events, why mess with success?
The Relentless team shares a pop-up tent in the service area with Samir and Rachelle Kaltak of Rally Team Kaltak (RTK). Sam and Rachelle did great this past weekend snagging a first place class win on Friday as well as Saturday despite a small off late on Friday.
I had done literally no research about the race, daily schedule, and hadn't bothered to look at a map of where the stages were located. The system of relying on the nearest, dirtiest Subaru to guide us between stages had been surprisingly reliable to begin with, but after we left the service area we realized that we had no idea where we were going. After driving down a few dirt roads that we thought were right (they weren’t), and nearly munching a WRX that thought a good place to do a Y-turn was after a blind corner (it isn’t), we decided to just head back to service to regroup and get some of Dylan’s Mom’s chicken soup that we had heard was delicious (it absolutely was).
It was pretty late in the evening at this point and the crews were waiting for the cars to come in for a service. It got frosty quick once the sun went down, so I was very thankful for the heater in the RTK trailer!
These guys are quick to action when the cars come in, getting the vehicle up on jacks to change tires and check fluids while those inside the car stretch their legs briefly before heading out for the next series of stages.
Samir had a small off late in the day on Friday, fortunately it didn't cost him much more than a foglight cover and control arm. The battered components were quickly replaced and RTK were back in the race.
The Relentless beast pulled into service shortly after Samir had left. A quick inspection of the Impreza showed that it still had four wheels, two occupants, and the engine was still running: good to go!
We did head out to watch a final night stage (I brought some beers along for warmth) but it was too dark for me to take pictures. Night stages may seem like a boring prospect because you can’t see much, but they are monumentally awesome. Standing in the near blackness as you listen for the roar of an approaching car, watching as the headlights break the darkness at the nearest crest, and then seeing the car briefly roar by as the taillights fade away between the trees. It’s a very unique experience, and one that I look forward to repeating!