Team Sparco Rally xD Fight Back at Rally in the 100 Acre Wood
Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard and the Scion Rally xD team fought through choking dust on the roads in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri to take second place in the two-wheel-drive category on the 100 Acre Woods rally this past weekend.
ACP and the team had their work cut out for them after being caught behind ailing competitors for three of the five legs of the rally. They lost minutes of valuable time trying to drive through walls of dust thrown up by slower cars in front.
“The dust was bad anyway,” said ACP, “but on three legs we had a car in front of us limping out of the stage – one that got back on the road after a crash, one with failed brakes, and one that rolled right in front of us. It was impossible to pass them, and incredibly frustrating to be flat out everywhere and then have such bad luck with the dust. But that's rally...” The team estimates that they lost almost three minutes to the dust problems.
But with an aggressive drive on the second day of the rally the team hauled back over a minute and a half on their rivals, won five stages, and finished only 2.8 seconds ahead of third place despite driving the last five stages with no third gear. Said guest co-driver Brian O’Kane of Australia: “it was nerve-wracking knowing that we had to be pushing so hard in the dust to get back on the podium, but we both love a challenge.” O’Kane and ACP have taken two consecutive class victories on Targa Newfoundland in a Toyota Supra MkIV.
Several of the 2WD teams also had problems, with two of the rival Ford Fiestas suffering from the aforementioned brake failure and roll. A third Fiesta won the class with a fast and trouble-free run.
The result keeps the team in a strong second position in the national 2WD Rally Championship. Said team manager Philip Chase: “we’ve got the technology and the team to win the championship, but with such great competition we certainly have our work cut out for us.”
The 2011 Scion xD that the team races is in constant evolution, and was sporting several innovative improvements for this rally as well as a boost in horsepower courtesy of GReddy.
BFGoodrich g-Force tires provided the traction for the team. Said Comrie-Picard: “We had amazing grip and no flats at all on the rally, which is remarkable given how hard we were pushing. Several other teams suffered punctures and high-speed delaminations that slowed them down. We were wide open the whole time with no problems.”
The team shared the podium with Ford Fiestas in first (Chris Duplessis/DMack) and third (Dillon Van Way/BFGoodrich) places. Remarkably, the top four 2WD vehicles were in the top ten finishers of the rally overall in a 64-car field, besting many AWD cars with much more horsepower and showing the flat-out competition in the class this year. The 100 Acre Wood rally is the seventh time in eight Rally America appearances that the Scion xD has been on the podium.