Richard and Ockwell take lead at Pines

Posted on 22. Nov, 2008 by in Tall Pines 2008


Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell have claimed a massive lead over the early stages of the 2008 Rally of the Tall Pines. Their biggest competition, in the form of Antoine L'Estage in his Hyundai Tiburon and Ken Block of the Subaru Rally Team USA, both suffered problems in the early stages.

At the Parc Expose this morning, spirits were high, and Ken Block was very open about his feelings towards the rally.

“I'm feeling really confident, and the car is great. I've had a rough time at Tall Pines and this time I am ready to finish and do it all,” said Ken. Despite this attitude, Ken knew he would need to push in order to beat Antoine for the North American Rally Cup.

The first stage was blazing fast, and Antoine, Ken and Pat tied to the second. Each would need to find a little bit more to best their opponents. That little bit more would end in problems for two of the three.

On the second stage Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino drove off into the trees and broke the rear suspension. They were able to continue but shortly after slid wide, broke the front suspension and slid off the road, his rally ended.

Antoine L'Estage was also a victim of the second stage, the legendary Peanut. He flatted a tire on the rough and tight section of the stage and lost over three minutes. The conditions have been very hard on tires and each team running the mix condition winter rally tires were suffering extreme wear on the frozen gravel and sand roads.

Andrew Comrie-Picard and Chrissie Beavis are in the brand new Mitsubishi EVO X. The pair have been battling some brake issues and spent a little time off the road, dropping down the order. “On throttle the car is great, but we're fighting rear brake bias problems. We've adjusted everything, even removed the swaybar, but nothing's really solving it.”

For Dave Mirra, who had his rally debut at Tall Pines one year ago this is an anniversary of sorts. “This event is just so amazing, with constantly changing conditions, it's just awesome.” Mirra is being co-driven by Vermont SportsCar owner Lance Smith. Smith offered an observation on the tire wear being experienced higher up the order.

“The tires they use have very few treadblocks, but the whole weight is still on the tire, so the wear is concentrated on these few blocks, like pinpoints.” Mirra and Smith have been running on more conventional ice tires, with a much larger contact patch and far less wear.

Rejean Losier has retired from the event after a big roll ending roof down in water. Both driver and co-driver escaped unharmed, but the event is over. John Vanos has also retired from the event. Co-driver Ryan Huber started getting sick, and could no longer read notes. Vanos also had problems with a brake pedal sticking and eventually lost a few lugnuts. On closer inspection, the wheel studs had started to fail, so the crew parked the car.

Peter Reilly is having a great event, debuting his new R32 VW Golf. “The long wheel base is much more stable and smooth than the old car, and the power is definitely in the back.”

Teams are leaving from the second service of the day, with Antoine a minute and a half behind second place. While it's likely he will make that time up, there is no way he'll catch Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell, who sit over five minutes ahead, unless that pair suffer problems.

We're heading back out to the stages to get more of the action from the 2008 Rally of the Tall Pines.

8 Responses to “Richard and Ockwell take lead at Pines”

  1. Warren Currie

    22. Nov, 2008

    Thanks for the updates guys!

  2. Dalton

    27. Apr, 2016

    Thanks for strnaitg the ball rolling with this insight.

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