The Safe Drives Rally Team has won the 2008 Mt. Hood Rally G5 Class, and in so doing eked out a narrow G5 Class Championship win over season-long rival John Lane. Long-time SDRT Co-Driver Teresa Buren has won her second consecutive Regional Championship with Driver and Team Principal Charles Buren winning his third consecutive Regional G5 Class Championship. Both team members have fought a hard season where they overcame multiple challenges and have taken the crown driving the team’s front-wheel-drive 1995 Subaru Impreza.

SDRT ended their sixth season in performance rally car racing in grand fashion at the Mt. Hood Rally but the event was not without its challenges.

Driver Charles Buren had this to say about the event, “I was really thinking that we were going to take it easy and was honestly resigned to finishing second to Doug Heredos after he spanked us at Wild West Rally 2008. In addition, I figured Doug knew these roads well after having competed here so many times. Also, winning any Regional G5 Championship for this season seemed unattainable mathematically so there was no real reason to push super hard.”

Charles expectations at the start of the rally were a little off.

He continued by saying, “Our first four stages were rather unremarkable from our perspective. I was keeping track of Doug times and knew we were doing well by that standard.”

“However, after four stages Teresa and I learned we were leading the rally overall by five seconds to second place Cody Crane and Joshua Seech! Teresa and I were surprised but we both played it very cool. We have been doing this for six years but have never led a rally before this. A rally regroup and re-seed happened at the start of Stage Five. It felt really, really, reaaaaally good to slowly cruise past the all wheel drive and turbo charged team Drivers of Mark Mager, Mark Tabor, Brian Svedin and the 2008 Subaru Impreza STI of Paul Eklund at the ATC 5 to start first on the road. At this point it was our rally to lose since the wind was dying down and we were going to have a dust advantage. We lost it on Stage 6 when my windshield fogged up horribly causing us to lose at least 30 seconds. I just could not see out of the car very well. Before Stage 7 I fixed the fogging issue; we fought back and won the stage overall, our first outright stage rally stage win. That was not enough though, at the end of the event we had lost first overall by 24 seconds. Teresa and I finished 4th overall with the top five cars being separated by a scant 31 seconds after 8 stages and 68 miles, just amazing.”

Do you have any good stories for the readers Charles?

“Well, being first car on the road you see things that other cars probably don’t.

On Stage 5, about halfway in I’d guess, we came blasting around a corner to see roads marshals literally JUMP from their chairs to cheer us on. I think we either startled them or they were expecting a different car to be first on the road. Whoever you were, thank you, you made us feel like superstars.

On Stage 6, on a fast but yet very narrow section of road, with fogging windshield, we found 3 LARGE deer standing in the middle of the road! I hit the brakes and they hit the gas and all was well after that. Teresa thinks this cost us 5 seconds, I’m not so sure but then there was Stage 7.

On Stage 7, just after the first turn was another deer! This one was small, so I floored it and at that point it darted off to the right. Another couple of seconds lost though.

Stage 8 was the last stage, it was amazing up until the point where we hit the giant rock on the inside of the hairpin right at the spectator area. The car steamed ahead though with no problems at all.

Teresa and my entire team did a great job this weekend! Big thanks to each of them, Cara, Gabe and Joe. Also big thanks go out to our sponsors, Safe Drives, Rallitek, Safety Solutions and AEM Performance Electronics. A special mention to Dale at NW Subaru Service who built my engine, thanks Dale.”

A fine event finish and a fine season finish for this G5 Class winning team.

Safe Drives Rally Team is based out of Scappoose, Oregon, USA. The SDRT 2008 Championship Winning Season was supported by:

Safe Drives LLC – www.safedrives.com
Rallitek – www.Rallitek.com
Safety Solutions – www.safetysolutionsracing.com
AEM Performance Electronics – www.aempower.com

2008 Season Point standing are found here, http://northwestrally.com/pdf%20files/08_pnwrc_finpts.pdf

Photo Credit goes to Wayne Flynn www.pdxsports.com
Video of the team can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/SafeDrivesRallyTeam

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