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Old 04-11-2007, 12:17 PM   #1
Driving Sports TV Staff
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Kirkland, WA
2004 WRX

Default Subiefest2: Bigger & Better than Before

Subiefest2: Bigger & Better than Before
By Travis Geny, Subiesport Magazine Photos: Curtis Craiger & Yujiro Otsuki

The day before the second annual Subiefest, the weather was clear, the skies blue and the air warm. It looked as if the event, presented by Subaru of America, Perrin Performance and Subiesport Magazine, would be one for the books, if only the weather would hold.

However, the weather report called for morning rain, and rain it did. From the moment the Time Attack competitors filed in the gates at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore., until late afternoon, a steady stream of water fell from the sky. Perfect Subaru weather.

The Ferrari club would have packed it in at the first drop, but the crowd of over 2,000 all-wheel drive flat-four crazies who filled the grandstands decided to pour it on.

Like Subiefest 1, Subiefest 2 featured a time attack and vendor area. Changed from the previous addition was an Autocross and a much more laid back car show.

In fact the car show was so laid back, it didn't really happen. The rain in its persistence kept washing away the competitor numbers making judging impossible. But this small bobble aside, the show went off without a hitch.

A 9:30 AM the field of Time Attack cars fired their engines and took position in the pits for a parade lap around the 12-turn 1.967 mile circuit.

As the cars rounded turn twelve, the Zero to Hero pace car peeled off, the green flag flew and the drivers dropped the hammer on the Time attack with a 20-minute warm-up session.

Immediately, the drivers knew that it would be a difficult day. With water pooling on the track the surface was beyond slick with several cars finding the grass early on to no incident.

"The track is very slick," said Street class driver Jeff Sponaugle.

"I even lost traction in the pace car on the parade lap," related Technical Editor Tim Bailey.

With the rain gushing forth, the Crawford Performance team erred on the side of caution. "We only wish we could have added to the festivities by running the Crawford Time Attack car. However, Mother Nature, and a few sponsors, had another agenda for us. No matter, we were more than happy to meet and talk with so many other enthusiasts. Who would have thought that we would actually be busier by NOT running our car in the Time Attack," said Chris Escamilla of Crawford.

However, as the morning wore on and the rain slackened, the drivers found the pace.

In between sessions, spectators were wowed by the sideways antics of D1 drifters, Team Orange, showing off their pair of GD Impreza RWD drift cars. Lead driver Kumakubo and teammate Tanaka, took to the track with zeal getting very sideways -- even in the wet. Despite reporting that the track was very slick and the driving dangerous, the team was determined to show the US audience what the D1 is all about.

This was the first time that D1 cars ever showed their stuff in theNorthwest. Another first was the unveiling of Tankaka's new 2007 Spec C drift car. Look for it in a future issue of Subiesport.

For the rabid cone dodger, an autocross was setup in the infield. While the autocross was open to non-Subarus, the vast majority of cars were of the AWD type.

Wandering around the paddock was none other than SRT ace Travis Pastrana. While Pastrana didn’t actively participate in the automotive debauchery on track, he did find time to take a ride in Kumakubo’s drift car, prompting him to exclaim, “I’ve got to get me one of these!”
Travis also found time to answer questions and sign autographs, look for him at the Oregon Trail rally on April 20th.

Back on track, the first two rounds of eliminations in both the street and Pro class whittled the competition to three cars in each class. With Phil Grawbow in the Element Tuning/World One/Prodrive 2006 STI, Navid Kahgi in a 2006 widebody STI running 315 series 18-inch Hoosiers sponsored by PDXTuning, and the GST retro rocket "version 1" Impreza piloted by Grand Am driver Brian Lock.

The street class saw some drama as PDXTuning's Jeff Sponaugle posted the third fastest time in class, only to limp off track with a blown differential before completing his second hot lap in the quarter finals. Unable to replace his differential, his slot was filled by Chris Lock in the Cobb Tuning widebody 2006 STI who was just a few tenths out of the top three.

As the Pro class took the track, the rain lifted and the track dried prompting some drivers to switch to dry rubber.

First out was class leader and favorite Brian Lock who turned a blistering 1:26.281lap time, followed by Navid Kahngi who could do no better than a 1:27.320. But it would be Phil Grabow for the repeat win with a 1:25.788 on his second lap which was enough to beat out Lock, Phil then followed with a 1:25.399 on the final lap just for good measure.

In the street class the stock STIs of Dan Hall and Eddie Nakato looked strong. But from the first lap, Chris Lock's widebody car demonstrated that with the rain gone, the wider rubber and bigger power of the Cobb car would be the deciding factor but only by a tenth of a second.

The show also saw the conclusion of the Zero to Hero Project 2.5RS with a Touge style battle between it and a "healthy" 2007 STI supplied by Subaru. Drivers were rally ace Nate Tennis and Subiesport Publisher Ryan Douthit, respectively.

The Subiesport RS was able to fend off the STI, thanks in part to a new C16 tune and well sorted suspension. Proving once again that it takes more than grunt and boost to take the checker when the course gets curvy.

As the sun literally fell on the day, those who stuck it out to the end were treated with some free swag, including several sets of suspension from Perrin Performance.

Plans are already being laid for next year. Expect more cars, more people, and maybe even a little sun. Complete coverage of the 2007 event, as well as an in-depth look at the new Team Orange Spec C drift car will appear in an upcoming issue of Subiesport Magazine.

Photo Thread:

For more information on Subiefest, or to pre-order the official DVD from this year's event, visit the official site:
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Last edited by ricochet; 04-11-2007 at 06:54 PM.
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