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Australia's Summit Rally Team are taking on a new challenge this year, competing in the Rally America series with two Nissan Silvias.  The two crews, consisting of Will Orders and Toni Feaver and Ross and Scott Allan, competed in their first US event last weekend, the Oregon Trail Rally.  Both crews were in contention for the 2WD honours with Orders/Feaver winning the 2WD class and finishing fourth outright.  Unfortunately for the Allan brothers, electrical problems halted their rally just two stages from the finish.

RallySport Magazine spoke with Will Orders about the Oregon Trail Rally.

Did you have a chance to spend any time in the car in the US prior to event?

The only time that I got to drive the car prior to the event was for a very brief period during an interview for a breakfast TV show on Fox 12 and a single pass of the Press Stage on the Thursday before the event.

How do the roads compare to those you've driven on in Australia?

There is a lot more variance in a single stage here in the US.  You can do a stage that goes from a smooth, fast road to a tight, rough and technical road. Altitude change is also common and the temperature sometimes can change between 20 degrees at the start line to 10 degrees at the finish line and potential snow.

Were there any major differences between how US rallies are run compared to Australian events?

They are very similar, they are still very much world class event. From a competitor’s point of view, the event organisation was good. One of the major differences was that there is no Parc Ferme at all. The cars went into what is called a Park Expose each morning and on the Saturday afternoon,  so that the cars can be on display to the public but there are no restrictions as to when you can or can’t work on your cars. The timing is also slightly different.

Is the Rally America series pace noted?

They run a style of note called ‘Jemba notes’ which are a generic set of notes handed to all competitors prior to recce that are generated by computer, however I didn’t run these notes, Toni and I wrote our own notes.

Were there any major logistical issues in competing in the US?

We had some delays in collecting our cars from customs in Los Angeles, which was as to be expected. One of the hardest things we faced was finding parts and places where we can work on the cars but we have been very fortunate to have the guys from Nameless Performance Inc helping us out from the Thursday prior to the Oregon Trail Rally by providing a workshop, help and parts to do repairs. Motels have also been quite helpful, allowing us workspace in the car park and offering some forms of surveillance overnight.

Fourth outright and first 2WD in your first US event is a great result.  What other cars were you competing against?

Our main competition in the 2WD category was Andrew Comrie-Picard who was driving a 2011 turbo-charged Scion xD. In the 2WD category there was also turbo-charged Ford Fiesta Cup cars and Focuses.

What was the highlight of the Oregon Trail Rally for you?

Getting three 3rd fastest stage times against some really quick four wheel drive cars was definitely a highlight.

See the Summit Rally Team in action at the New England Forest Rally by joining the Summit Rally Team Spectator Tour.  Find out more here.

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