Team Driver Otis Dimiters set top 5 stage times and moved into 3rd place overall before engine troubles brought the Group N car to a halt with only 8 competitive miles remaining. The team also supported Production GT driver Matthew Johnson, who finished an impressive 9th overall and 1st in class.
Dimiters had just brought the 2002 Subaru STI back from a motor rebuild at Autosport Engineering in Michigan, and was pleased with the results. Canadian co-driver Alan Ockwell sat in the right seat in place of regular co-driver Peter Monin, and settled right into the job. Matthew Johnson and co-driver Wendy Robinson-Nakamoto arrived at the rally fresh from their experience at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, ready for the challenging logging roads.
Dimiters and Johnson both threw their Subaru Imprezas headlong into the race, overcoming melon size rocks and tricky roads. Dimiters and Ockwell set top 5 times on a majority of Friday’s stages, finishing the day in 3rd overall, 15 seconds in front of former World Rally Champion driver Stig Blomqvist. Johnson and Robinson-Nakamoto laid down a series of stage times in the top 10 to finish the first leg of the rally in 7th place overall, over a minute ahead of the next Production GT car.
The crews spent Friday evening preparing the cars for Saturday’s competition, including repairing an oil leak on the turbo in Dimiter’s car. On Saturday, Dimiters showed that consistency pays off by setting another 5th fastest stage time, and followed that up with a 3rd overall fastest time on Stage 6, 2 seconds faster than current champion Pat Richard. Johnson kept his streak going as well, staying well within the top 10 on both stages before the afternoon service.
During the afternoon service Dimiters reported problems with the fuel pump, which was replaced with a new unit lent to the team by Doug Havir. The service crew also set about repairing some minor body damage to the rear corner.
The fuel pump issues returned almost as quickly as the replacement had been installed, causing Dimiters to start loosing time on Stage 7. By Stage 8 the car was limping to the finish, where Dimiters and Ockwell swapped in another spare, barely making the start of the final stage. With only 8 miles to go the newly rebuilt motor finally gave up, jettisoning it’s oil and grinding to a halt, leaving the pair to watch Ken Block pass by and take 3rd place.
Johnson had a much easier afternoon, continuing to set impressive times, maintaining a lead of over 5 minutes to the next Production GT car to finish on a very positive note!
NC Rally would like to give special thanks to: the organizers of the Maine Forest Rally; Rally America; North Coast Subaru of Glen Cove, NY; Vivian Levy; Autosport Engineering; Subaru of America; and the all volunteer NC Rally service crew! We’ll see everyone in Minnesota!
(Photos to follow shortly at http://www.ncrally.com/index.php?&pid=508
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