This Merkur XR4Ti attracted a lot of attention as it was very clean and well prepared, and it’s the closest thing we got in the states to the more potent Ford Sierra RS Cosworth. Unfortunately I saw it on a trailer in Salem on Saturday, with both ends pretty smashed up.
I’m not sure if it’s a requirement to run in 2WD Group 2, but the 2.3L turbocharged Lima engine in the Merkur was running without the compressor. Even though it may have been down on power, it still made cool turbo sounds out of the exhaust, which is probably more important anyways.
Being a rally star must be exhausting at times. I’m not sure how these guys ever get anywhere, always being asked to sign autographs, or to pose for a photo with a fan, all while photographers shove cameras in their face. It's tough out there.
The Subaru Rally Team was using the new generation of the WRX as their recce vehicle, which was my first time seeing one “in the wild”. I’ve been hearing a lot of feedback comparing the shape to any other bland economy car, but I think it looks more aggressive in person, and I’m sure that once the aftermarket gets their hands on it opinions will be swayed.
Planning your spectating schedule ahead of time is pretty important if you want to get to the stages in time to see the front runners. This is even more important at 100 Acre Woods as it is pretty spread out, this means you may have to drive as much as an hour in between stages, with a lot of that time spent slowly traversing dirt, gravel, and dry rocky riverbeds. One wrong turn can really mess up your day, so you need a vigilant navigator to keep an eye open for the street signs.
After the draw FY Racing’s Adam Yeoman was seeded first, with Block, Pastrana, L’Estage, and Higgins following. The starting order can make a big difference as the first few cars to run a stage have the least amount of ruts to deal with, but they also can’t see what lines the other competitors are running. The entire atmosphere changes once the zero car goes by, signaling that the stage is now hot. The idle shifting and chatter amongst spectators becomes hushed as everyone listens intently for the approaching roar, anti-lag backfire, and chirping turbos.