kan07_pbrpre.jpgThe Prescribed Burn Rally Team overcame unusual road conditions, weather and tough competition to place fourth in the regional race for the 2007 Pacific Forest Rally. This result exceeded the goals the team set for itself going into the rally.

The recce portion of the event proved to be a big challenge for the entire field, with ankle deep snow on the Thynne/Brookmere stages. Mark and Jennifer were able to complete one pass of these stages for recce, but were stopped with many other teams for a long time while cars ahead slid on and off the road. Jennifer’s WRX coped admirably with the snow in its new winter tires. On the way back to Merritt, Mark and Jennifer met up with their new service crew bringing the very recently painted yellow car, thanks to AGAR Paint and Autobody. Ian, Dave, Reagan and Steve did a fantastic job prepping and maintaining the car all weekend.

Friday evening started well, but ended in an unfortunate DNF. Mark and Jennifer were running with their Western rivals over the first few stages, and were getting comfortable with a faster pace. The car ran out of fuel on the last Princeton stage, preventing the team from running the popular Railyard stage in downtown Merritt. Aside from this blunder the car ran really fast and reliably for the rest of the rally.

Saturday the team drove consistently and improved almost every stage time, surpassing their usual Group 2 competition and chasing within reach of a podium finish. Questionable tire choices for the snowy morning stages had put some of the top open teams within 20 seconds of the Prescribed Burn times. Mark and Jennifer flew through Helmer at the end of the day, improving upon their morning time by over two minutes, but the 3rd place open car was also much faster with better tires. The team finished 4th overall, with more than 3 minutes ahead of the next entry. The team has definitely picked up the pace: “In every instance we beat the podium finishers on different stages in a bizarre mix of conditions, all of whom have far more experience on the roads”, said Mark Jennings-Bates, adding “the key now is to search for consistency in that pace as we head into the next event in Alberta.”

The next event is the final rally of 2007 for the team, and they will be aiming for a win. The Regional Kananaskis Rally takes place on November 10th outside of Calgary, AB.

The Coldwell Banker Rally Team is an Okanagan based performance rally team that is supported by Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty, Sun FM, Agar Paint & Autobody, BigO Tire in Westbank, OkanaganVisitor.ca. Provision Data, Wildcat Helicopters, Stacy Screen Print, The Great Canadian Oil Change, Concept Developments, Wishbone Industries, MotorTabs, Amsoil.

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