The challenge of this event also comes from the fact that the stages are repeated in the same direction, several times, which creates a lot of polished ice, especially in the braking points and in the corners, where you would normally have and use lateral grip.
Honestly, the best strategy at this event is to bring the speed back a notch and try to keep the car on the road. Full attack mode doesn’t usually pay off at all on those roads, and being stuck on a snowbank for several minutes just ruins your chance of a good result.
Preparation for this event is not much different than other normal gravel rallies. The organiser is allowing plenty of time for the recce and not limiting it to two passes only. So, teams are already planning a three pass recce and further review on video, as usual.
The snowy stages in Michigan create a bit of issue when it comes to visibility and unclear definition of the road ahead. Always a problem in winter events and because it's the only winter event in the championship, it’s something teams aren't used to.
Using yellow lense glasses helps with the vision a little more. It’s pretty much the only different thing we will have in our race kit for Sno Drift, together with several pairs of thermals, as Michigan’s temperatures are pretty brutal this time of the year, and a tow rope, if stuck in a snow bank.
Rhianon agains joins forces with US motorsport legend Travis Pastrana. Photo: David Cosseboom
One unique rule in USA which is not allowed in other championships around the world is that competing crews can help each other while out on the stages and transit sections. That can be with working on the car, parts or towing another crew.
This comes in very handy for an event such as Sno Drift, where you can stop and quickly pull another team out of a snow bank and then continue on in the stage.
Hopefully this will not be needed for either of the OzRallyPro pair next week, but if it is, it's a great rule to have available.
Follow all the Sno Drift action on the RallySafe app, and OzRallyPro will have a full report after the event."
Alex & Rhianon Gelsomino