Strong start to 2012 ARC for James Rodda
- 7th March 2012, 12:35pm
In extreme conditions which saw torrential rain mix with baking heat over the three-day event, Rodda and new codriver Samantha Stevens mastered a new suspension setup and the rally’s half-gravel, half-tarmac courses to move from ninth outright in Heat 1, to seventh in Heat 2 and an all-time best of fifth outright in Heat 3 to claim the personal best score. Even more impressive was the quality of the competition, with the 13 year old turbo-restricted GC8 Subaru WRX up against unrestricted 4WDs and 2WD super machines.
“The weather played a big part in the weekend, with the roads extremely slippery and boggy at times,” said Rodda. “It certainly made it tricky, but very enjoyable at the same time. Negotiating the tarmac sections with standing water on the control Kumho R800 gravel rally tyres saw the track sessions become somewhat of a drift session at times!”
In the Rallyschool Australian Junior Challenge, Rodda engaged in a tight battle with the Mitsubishi Evo IV of Dane Berry and Nathan Long; the two teams pushing each other to the end. Rodda fought back on the gravel sections in the slippery mud; Berry had the upper hand at the tarmac sections, and ultimately, the cancellation and shortening of the boggy gravel courses saw the Evo VI take an unassailable lead.
While he narrowly missed qualifying for the RAJC at Calder, Rodda is now looking forward to the next opportunity.
“After the success of the weekend, making the long trek to the Quit Forest Rally in WA may be on the cards, and we will definitely be participating in my home round, the Rally of SA,” said Rodda.
“Ultimately, we are back performing where we felt we should have been last year before our mechanical dramas. The car performed well, with no major issues and no bumps or scratches.
“We have found a great improvement in the car setup and handling now, using MCA suspension with remote canisters, and it helped improve my confidence in the car.
“Also, it helped that co-driver Samantha Stevens - who performed faultlessly despite a long sojourn from the silly seat - recently became the first female driver to win a tarmac rally outright in Australia, and we combined our knowledge to produce good notes and consistent times on both surfaces. I am looking forward to combining our efforts again in the near future.”
“A big thanks must go to ARC CEO Scott Pedder and his team for putting on a great event under some very trying conditions,” Rodda added.
The Quit Forest Rally is scheduled for March 30 – April 1, with the Scouts Rally of SA on the June 28 – 29 weekend.
For more information go to www.Rallypower.com.au or www.facebook.com/rallypower
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