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First of all, thanks to EVERYONE involved in making this rally happen. This was my first time at Rim and it definitely won't be my last.

The days leading up to Rim were probably more stressful for me than the actual rally. 6 weeks ago I had ordered a new fancy set of struts that were suppose to arrive before Rim. I had also ordered a PhantomGrip LSD, a new seat for my co-driver and I was waiting for some tires from the Tabors. As luck would have it, NO struts, NO LSD, NO seat. Fortunately Matt drove my beloved Silverstones down from Oregon, THANK YOU MATT!!! So, once again, I tip toed somewhere between brave and STUPID, and drove another rally in my 1.6 liter, 90hp (at the crank), one wheel drive, Autozone strut havin' Sentra XE. I bought up every strut I could find between Ontario and Palmdale, and believe me, we needed them. Knowing the car wasn't up to par to tackle Rim at full bore, we decided to "just try to finish".

Friday morning was spent applying decals to the freshly painted car. With only about 10 hours of dry time, the paint was so sticky, I don't think we needed to peel the backs off the stickers. We then jumped into the never ending registration line, I swear there are still people standing in that line. Then off to tech, other than getting lost on the way there and on the way back (No, my navie was not in the car), everything went very smooth.

Friday night was a very new experience to me. I had a new co-driver, Paul Nelson, who did a spectacular job keeping up with the Stage Notes, which were new to both of us. Driving on pavement with rally tires wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, but the fun came when the pavement turned brown. Anyone that has driven 10/10ths from tarmac to dirt, knows exactly what I'm talking about. 10/10ths on tarmac suddenly becomes 18/10ths on dirt. Major Pucker Factor.

Driving the uphill stages with 90hp and a 3500lb car is very slow going. I kept wanting to get out and push... Despite everything, the night stages were a blast. We got caught up in the same dust that everyone was in; lights, no lights, it didn't matter, you couldn't see anything but dust.

After a well earned 3 hours of sleep, we were off to Parc Expose on Saturday morning. The charity rallysprint was going on and I couldn?t resist giving rides and a chance to win the generator. Seemed like a good idea until I bent a rear strut while trying not to be embarrassed by a stupid-fast Evo. With not enough time to change out the rear struts, I pulled the wheels, got out the BFH, and beat on the struts until the tires didn?t rub.

Del Sur was a hoot. I can?t wait to get some real suspension and fly those waterbars!! We bent both rear struts on the way out to Del Sur, luckily I had some wheel spacers in the car. A few minutes with the pneumatic impact (thanks to my navie?s scuba tank) and no more tire rub, still had about 15 degrees of negative camber in the rear though. We limped both stages back to service where we only had time to change one strut. Limped through Libre and Maxwell back to the dinner break service. Where we were promptly shorted 34 minutes of service due to the reseed. We just barely changed the last strut in time, and headed out for the last two stages of the night. Like the previous night, dust was a major factor, but we finished. Well we mostly finished, we lost our right side mirror and antenna ball mascot to a tree.

Rim is tough, and our ?drive to finish? attitude paid off. We finished the Friday ClubRally 16th overall, 3rd in CRS Stock, and 2nd in SCCA Production. In Saturday?s ClubRally we were 11th overall, 2nd in CRS Stock, and 2nd in SCCA Production. In combined ClubRally standings, we were 9th overall. Out of all competitors combined, we had the highest starting position to finishing position difference. We went from 72nd to 25th overall, 47 positions.

Again thanks to everyone who made this happen.

Gabe Pari
Paul Nelson
Car# 398
Nissan Sentra XE
 

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RE: Fun at RIM...& Thanks to the Organizers!

As Gabe's Navie, I concur with his comments: Rim was a Blast!!! Major fun! Will be back again!

Thanks to the Paula & Mike Gibeault, Denise McMahon, Stage Captains, medical & radio volunteers, and every one else that helped put on this great show!

>>>Friday night was a very new experience to me. I had a new co-driver, Paul Nelson, who did a spectacular job keeping up with the Stage Notes, which were new to both of us.

Thanks Gabe! :) :) It took awhile to get used to them, but by the second day I had a good feel for using them, and they helped.

>>>The charity rallysprint was going on and I couldn?t resist giving rides and a chance to win the generator. Seemed like a good idea until I bent a rear strut while trying not to be embarrassed by a stupid-fast Evo. With not enough time to change out the rear struts, I pulled the wheels, got out the BFH, and beat on the struts until the tires didn?t rub.

YOU bent the struts on the charity ride! (This is the first time I heard about this.) I told you to take it easy and don't break the car, because that is what the Del Sur stage is for. Drivers never listen! :p

I am really happy with our results. When I learned the new equipment didn't arrive, I thought a finish would be tough. As Gabe said, our "drive to finish" and let other people make mistakes strategy paid off. Ninth overall in a combined club rally! Moving up 47 places overall; the highest advance in the rally!

Gabe is a good driver, and I expect higher finishes in the future. Anyone interested in sponsering us, let us know while space on the car is still available! :D

Paul Nelson (Navie)
'93 Sentra #398
 
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