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The new Prescribed Burn 2004 Subaru STI left its tarmac circuit racing history in the dust this weekend at its first rally, the Cochrane Regional Rally of the Ranchlands in Alberta. This year’s Cochrane Rally, the first round of the Western Canadian Championship, began as a pure snow and ice winter event, with some teams ending up in the snowbanks multiple times, and ended as a warm sunny spring rally with a great finish for the Prescribed Burn Rally Team.

On the first few morning stages, driver Mark Jennings-Bates had his hands full keeping the new car, with its still stock suspension and non rally tires, on the slippy winter roads. Other teams struggled for grip as well, including the first car out, which ended up in the snowbank on the first stage. By the long mid day service the Chinook arch was high in the sky, and the temperature was rising rapidly. The Prescribed Burn service crew worked hard and solved a list of problems that cropped up throughout the morning, giving Mark and Jennifer a chance to test out the new car in earnest during the second half of the rally. With the temperature above freezing, the worn winter tires found more grip and the team returned to rally pace, enjoying settling in to the new car.

The Prescribed Burn Rally Team’s 2009 Cochrane Rally was an eventful one, with new car teething troubles, stopping on stage to pull another competitor out of the snowbank, and penalties incurred when they spun 360 degrees backwards through a chicane, obliterating most of the elements. The detailed results are not yet available, but without the estimated five minutes they lost to these challenges the Prescribed Burn team would have been in an overall podium position. By the last leg of the rally the team was consistently setting competitive stage times, enough to and take first place in open class and fifth overall.

The next event on the PBRT calendar is the Rocky Mountain National Rally in Alberta in May.

The Prescribed Burn Rally Team is supported by BCResortHomes.com, Agar Paint & Autobody, BigO Tire in Westbank, Wyatt Auto Parts, Kelowna Moving Centre, Provisiondata.com, The Vault Sign and Design, The Great Canadian Oil Change and Bell Racing.

Photo by Kris Schofield, istaphoto.com

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