A major weight reduction campaign on his Subaru has helped Steve Glenney claim his first heat win in the 2018 Australian Rally Championship, with victory on Sunday at Subaru Rally Tasmania.
Despite crashing early on Saturday, Glenney and co-driver, Andy Sarandis, bounced back in treacherously wet conditions on Sunday to take victory, including setting the fastest stage time on the final 25km stage of the rally.
Highlighting his improvement, on the second pass of the stage he was more than a second per kilometre faster than his first run, whereas rally winner, Eli Evans, was 0.3 of a second slower than his own first run.
"We learnt a lot this weekend, despite the wet weather and the crash," Glenney told RallySport Mag.
"After going off the road on Saturday, we thought we might have squandered the chance to improve the car's set-up and take a step forward, but that wasn't the case.
"I think we really found the sweet spot with the set-up on Sunday, and that bodes well for the future."
Glenney's team boss, Craig Brooks, set out on pretty much a total rebuild of the car after the previous event in Canberra.
With virtually no expense spared, the Subaru WRX shed weight at an impressive rate, estimated to be between 70 and 80 kilograms.
"We got the weight out in lots of areas - high in the car and outside the front and rear axels," Glenney added.
"It's made a big difference, and the car really squats and tucks in much better now. It's a lot more responsive."
Steve Glenney's Subaru WRX has shed around 80kg. Photo: Peter Whitten
Brooks added that the weight was reduced in all sorts of different areas.
"For example, we built a rear alloy rear crossmember that saved us 10 kilos, and there was a weight reduction in other areas too.
"Even I played around, getting a 60 gram saving just in the door hinges," Brooks said.
"My time is free, so it was just me playing around and seeing what we could achieve."
Plans for Brooks and Glenney beyond 2018 are yet to be finalised, but with the car getting faster at each event, it would seem likely that the pairing will be together again next season.
"The car will be built and ready to go, so we're a chance," Brooks said.
"I'm really enjoying this team principal role and seeing Steve get the most of the car. The team are doing a fantastic job and we're starting to see some results."
The team obviously finished Rally Tasmania on a real high, believing that their lightweight Subaru is capable of playing against the R5 and AP4 cars of Eli Evans, Harry Bates and Adrian Coppin.
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