Yes the rumours are true: we have bought Lance William’s R4 Subaru for next season and couldn’t be more excited. It’s quite difficult to look at our new baby parked up in the shed as we felt we should try and finish the season in the Suzuki Swift before switching over.
Going into the Coromandel Rally, we were given an amazing opportunity to test with Hayden Paddon on the Thursday. This allowed us not only to watch one of the best in the world up close but we also changed out springs and tweaked suspension settings. The Swift was handling well with the new adjustable front arms and everything was set for a perfect rally.
Recce was easy in the farm ute (with no ABS nonsense) and the roads looked absolutely fabulous. There is no doubt that the Coromandel roads are superb rally roads and it’s difficult to say which stage is our favourite. Having completed the Coromandel Rally four times previously, it was quite unusual to be going in the opposite direction.
We always knew fuel consumption would be an issue with the first long touring stage of 74 kms followed by the 35 km special stage at Kennedy Bay. When we did our pre-event fuel calcs we knew it would be tight but we came unstuck on the first stage with the fuel pump (located inside the fuel tank) sucking in air. The result of this was a damaged fuel pump (fuel pumps use fuel for lubrication and cooling). Following the damage to the fuel pump, the car was restricted to around 30% power as this was all the fuel the pump could supply. We didn’t have any other issue on the rally – the engine, gear box and suspension were excellent. With the way the fuel tank is currently set up, we were unable to rectify the fuel problem during service and just had to continue as best we could. While the extra refuel stop at Coromandel, which was added into the itinerary during the afternoon assisted us, it didn’t fix our malfunctioning fuel pump. We were successful in finishing the rally and the times weren’t too bad given the problem on board.
Big thanks to our service crew of five: Steve, Neal, Glenn, Ben and Mary – brilliant job. They really enjoyed servicing out of the new service truck (which we bought with Lance’s car).
I was lucky enough to be selected for the Elite Motorsport Academy and in July spent a week in Dunedin at a training course which was centred around nutrition, physiology, fitness and social media. This was the most awesome experience, both physically and mentally. For the class of 2017, I was placed third overall. Assistance from the Elite Motorsport Academy continues for a 12 month period.
It will be interesting to see if the team continue on with the Swift until the end of the season or…. open up the shed and get the Subaru out early!
THANKS to our sponsors for their support – Handy Rentals, WDE and Paddon Rally Foundation. Thanks also for the ongoing assistance from the Elite Motorsport Academy
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