Snow forces schedule shuffle

Posted on 29. May, 2010 by in Canadian Rally Champs, CRC 2010, Event Coverage, Rally News, Rocky Mountain Rally 2010

Saturday’s stages at the 2010 Rocky Mountain Rally have had to be reconfigured after heavy snow and messy conditions made some stages impossible to run. Set in the Porcupine Hills, the stages are all variations of a series of roads with north and south legs. Organisers have created new stages out of the northern legs and crews eventually started the first stages after significant delays.

“Apparently there was supposed to be more snow up here,” said Antoine L’Estage. L’Estage decided to use Yokohama snow tires, but said at the stage start it may not be the right decision.

Pat Richard decided to gamble, taking cut gravel tires, hoping that there will be so little snow he can claw back some time.

“We’ve got nothing to lose,” said Richard, apparently re-energised after yesterdays performance. “If we don’t do the opposite of Antoine, we’ll still be second, so might as well try something different.”

Bruno Carre decided to try the same tires that gave him an advantage yesterday, narrow snow tires typically used for deep snow conditions. Nearly every kind of tire is being used on the first stages, from gravel to mud to snow to street snow tires.

For Hardy Schmidtke, the conditions could be a welcome help. Two years ago, Schmidtke finished fifth overall in wet and slippery conditions. “We’ll have to hope for a similar performance.” In a three way battle for fifth, every advantage can help.

Eliminated from the battle for fifth is Marc Bourassa, whose car stalled following fueling and would not restart. His crew determined that the fuel used was bad, and has forced the team to retire.

Two wheel drive cars will find the conditions particularly difficult, but the Zedrils have a strong lead following Zebe’s retirement yesterday.

“We have to be smart and manage our lead today,” said Jody Zedril.

At the first service, Antoine had opened up a lead of nearly two minutes. For Richard, the gamble on gravel tires was a mistake, costing the Subaru team dearly.

“We had about 10 – 15 offs on the first stage, the tires just didn’t work,” said Richard. As a result, the team has dropped behind Bruno Carre, though it is expected they can recover the position.

The battle for fifth between Hardy Schmidtke and Simon Losier has stayed close after the first two stages, with both teams pushing to stay in the top five. Losier had a small off, dropping him into sixth.

With the new schedule, teams will only do two stages rather than the planned four, so tires can be changed to suit conditions after a shorter amount of stage distance. The schedule is also a work in progress, as organisers keep track of road conditions and build the stage distance while aiming for a target finish time. This approach makes things challenging for co-drivers who have to reorganise stage notes for stages that were not originally on the schedule.

Snow is still falling in the service area, interfering with internet access. The good folks at Skyline Ranch have been able to help me find an alternative at the next house over, and Andre at Swap Shop has loaned an ATV so we can get to the house and keep you updated. A big thanks for all of their help!

Tags: , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “Snow forces schedule shuffle”

  1. Warren Currie

    29. May, 2010

    Thanks for the coverage.
    The weather in Edmonton sucks today as well!

  2. Martin Walter

    29. May, 2010

    Great reports as always! Wish I was there.

    Thanks FOC!

  3. Simon

    29. May, 2010

    Wow, looks like if I had to miss a year (and this year I did!) this was the year to miss! Driving back from Edmonton to Medicine Hat was no fun. Can’t imagine how bad conditions were in the Hills. Thanks for keeping us update as best you can.

  4. Andre G.

    29. May, 2010

    Was great fun today. Three of us headed out from Calgary as first time spectators and ended up having quite an adventure just getting there in my Prius. Organizers were all great, volunteers were, without exception, helpful and the event was fun!

    We’ll all be back next year!

    Thanks to everyone who helped make this a great outing for us.

Leave a Reply