Shelton, Washington (April 26, 2019)
The stages are set and DirtFish Olympus Rally starts tomorrow, April 27th. In preparation for the rally weekend, teams recced all 134 stage and 134 transit miles today to develop their pace notes.
Most teams are reporting that the stages look exciting, and that many of the weekend’s roads have been freshly graded or resurfaced with minimal hazards, but there are several rough sections still lurking in the woods. The road surface is also loose in many places, and extremely hard in others. Feeling out grip levels on the fly will be a fun challenge for teams. But for those further down the starting order, large rocks that currently line drainage gullies on the side of many stage roads may be pulled onto the racing line by the faster cars up front.
Here’s what some of the driver’s an co-drivers had to say about the Olympus stages the night before the rally’s start:
Leon Jordan (McKenna Motorsport) - “Reece went well and the stages are in mostly good shape, just with a few rough patches here and there. But that's to be expected. I’m really looking forward to getting at it tomorrow.”
David Higgins (Subaru Motorsports USA) - “The stages are quite rough and hard in places. Very loose and much drier than what we're used to having here, so that's going to make it pretty difficult. We just won the seeded draw and you want, in some ways, to be first on the road because there are not as many big rocks being pulled out. But you also have to clean the line. For us, we decided to go third and see what happens.”
Blake Lind (Primitive Racing) - “Recce went well and the stages are in good shape. They graded some of the stages since the last time we were here [at Tour de Forest]. The mud was a lot less everywhere and the weather is looking beautiful with no rain. We're really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Sam Albert (DirtFish Motorsports) - “The Olympus roads are in the best shape I’ve seen them. It looks like they’ve put in some work grading and the volunteers did a great job clearing the road from all the down limbs from the winter. Forecast says it’ll stay dry all weekend so dust will be a question but there’s no doubt everyone is in store for an awesome weekend of racing!”
Denis Giraudet (Subaru Motorsports USA) - “I was well impressed by the roads here. Very nice. Very challenging. It is not going to be an easy weekend for us because the speed will be quite high. It will be a very difficult event. I was not expecting such challenging roads.”
Karen Jankowski (AMSOIL Seehorn Rally Team) - “Roads look great and are in the best shape I have seen in years. Tight twisty technical roads suit us great so we are super excited about tomorrow! Plus the car is raring to go so it’s going to be a fun home event weekend for us. Lots of family and friends here plus our special guests Dick Hannah Subaru and Nameless Performance.”
Preston Osborn (O.D.D. Racing) - “Long stages this year with a lot of busy sections in the notes and Nahwatzel is as fast as ever! The surface of the stages is quite loose in a lot of places. We also really like having the option to write our own notes at races this year, lets us push a bit harder on the stages.”
Martin Brady (McKenna Motorsport) - “ The stages are in good shape; nice to see them in the dry and know they will stay dry. Dayton is a tough challenge to open the rally, it is very technical in places and where it is tight and downhill will test the bravery and or the braking abilities of man and machine. What goes down must go up, so some the of the uphill bits will be hard work for the two wheel drives. Stillwater is a faster more open stage, but there’s still plenty to catch you there. Wildcat will be 20 miles of relentless corners.”
Follow along with all 59 teams ready to begin the DirtFish Olympus Rally tomorrow morning on the ARA Rally App or on live.americanrallyassociation.org. Day-end rally reports will be available on Flosports.tv at 8pm PT on Saturday and 5pm PT on Sunday. Also be sure to keep up with immediate updates through the ARA social media channels.
Photo Credit: Alex Wong