>Great job at winning the HillClimb ... Shame that nobody has
>congratulated you on the forums..
You're right. It was a good drive against some pretty tough competition. Given the number of potential winners that heve emerged this year and what seems to be a high level of ability throughout the field in 2005, any victory is a real achievement. We haven't met, Stephan, but I'd like to add my congratulations; I look forward to meeting you at Sno*Drift.
Stephan had very little seat time in the Open class car before showing up to Pikes Peak on short notice. To step up from a PGT WRX into a high horsepower car that you're unfamiliar with and win is awesome. It was absolutely rewarding to work as hard as we did at the hill climb. Stephan is great to work with and I hope to work with him again soon. Pikes Peak was my first time on a team that go a overall podium finish and I couldn't be happier.
A big congratulations is in order for Graham at AutoSport Engineering. I know he worked like mad to get the car just right and solve some boost issues prior to the start of the race. I've never seen someone so focused on winning! Everything from the size of the mud flaps to the lack of rear wing went into their winning times!
Thank you guys.
Let me tell you, it was something else. I don't think I would ever forget that week.
Peter Workum call me on Sunday June 12. He was like:
P: what are you doing?
S: watching F1.
P: stop watching and listen to me.
P: I can't go to Pikes Peak, I have to work, do you want to drive?
S: How much?
P: This much .......$$
S: Let me look for the money, I'll call you back tomorow.
Monday after I ask my best friend to land me the money, I call back Peter and said "Let's do it".
Peter said: "I'll call Graham to let him know, you guys get in touch and good luck at Pikes, you can't break the car and have to win".
Sure, no pressure.
From then on it was crazy, I don't have any employe at my shop, so I had to do 2 weeks of work in 1. I work my butt off to be sure I could be at Pikes on Sunday night.
I got in Denver Sunday at 12.30 am, drove to Colorado Springs.
Got to the hill monday at 9am and spend 9 hours going up and down at 20 MPH. I wanted to know that hill by heart. First because I will be driving a car who as twice the HP i'm used to, but also because I would have a new co-driver. Chrissie beavis. I heard she was good but I didn't know how good. I didn't wanted to take any chances.
Monday night drove back to Denver to meet with the team.
Tuesday morning started the mapping. I actually was driving Wyeth's car for the mapping. Wich help a lot, his car behing a Gpn is exactly like mine inside. The only difference is the Dog box and the brakes. We must have done 30 miles with that car. Then I jumped in Peter's car.
The funny part the team keep calling it my car. That felt pretty cool.
Anyway, i don't know if you guys have seen any pic of the inside of that car, holly @#$%!
I was in a different world, nothing was at the same place as my car, nothing. Carbon and swicht all over the place. Pretty intimidating.
The gear box is $20k, so every time I shift gear, i was holding my breath. I'm used to have a break booster on my car, not on this one. It took me a long time to get use to the brake, they stop great but you have to push on it like creasy. Normal for a race car. We did about 25 to 30 miles, Graham let me drove fast, maybe five of those. The rest we were doing around 40 and 50 MPH. We couldn't go fast, 'cause we were on public open road, with cops every where.
Monday night we went back to Colorado Springs were I meet Chissie.
Wednesday Chrissie and I went to registration at 10am, and were on the hill by 11 am. we went up and down until 2.30 pm.
That is the good thing about behing in a professional team, you don't need to go to tech, they do it for you.
Got back at 2.30 went to lunch, got in the car at 4pm and was racing at 6pm.
I was really nervous about the first stage, full tarmac, with this car, you better be carefull.
The guy I was really worry about was Sheperd with his Neon. He had more power than us, and on tarmac had no problem with traction. I knew was going to be fast.
we started 11th because of my SF. When we were getting ready to start, I looked at Chrissie and said: "this is it, what I waited all my life."
She looked at me with a smile and said: "Don't worry, you'll be fine"
Started the stage, drove at a good pace but nothing creasy. There is a section where you are in 5th gear flat out for about maybe 1mile and a half. A lot of 5 and 6 turn. The car was amaizing. Glue to the ground, I could have gone 10 MPH faster in the corners.
We got to the end without any scrare and found out we had the fastes time. Good start.
Chrissie and I decide to keep the same comfortable pace and let the other guy do the work to catch us.
It worked perfect. I never used more than 80% of the car, Chrissie kept coaching me the all time, it was great.
The only big problem I was having, was in the airpine. I couldn't get my momentum and braking right. Half of them, i just drove without slidding, like a TOURIST. That drove me nuts. It was embarasing.
We never had a problem the all week. I felt like I was a kid locked in Disney Land for a week.
Chrissie was just fantastic in the car and outside taking care of all the rally stuff.
Graham was on top of everything, I could ask him to repaint the car during service and he would done it. Behing in a professional team make such a big difference on your driving and stress level. The only thing you have to think about is, DRIVING. People takes care of the rest. You get to service, get out of the car, go drink, eat walk around, that is it. They call you when they finish to work on the car, you go back in it and go drive. Pretty cool!!!
Thank you to all of you who help me out, Graham, Sandy Chrissie, Josh, Otis, Henri etc... and Peter. It was a dream come through and I can die right now, I'll be happy.
What truly makes this first place finish all the more wonderful are the many fun pictures of Stephan from the event, most especially the one accompanying the article in the features section of specialstage. Never was there a more goofy grin than that of a happy Verdier.
However, I must share a story to let y'all know how much I admire this man. While nursing a co-efficient 18 hangover at Ramada last year, I lay upon a tailgate during the Super stages on Sunday and listened while Stephan & another driver coached who I think it was Jon Rood on driving technique. With utmost modesty and complete sincerity, Stephan spoke frankly and knowledgably about ever aspect of driving, advising his competitor on how to improve even while still being in competiotion with him. That, folks, is class, and many of you in rally have it. Stephan just makes it look so easy. It's one of the reasons I work rallies.
Congratulations, Mr. Verdier. It couldn't have happened to a nicer person. Carolyn
"No outfit is complete without pet fur."
Verr well done mate and way over due, I always knew you would be the guy to beat if you had the right car, maybe the sponsers wil step up now and you can take everyone on
again well done, you out drove us all
Awesome job. When I saw the entry list on Wednesday when we got done with practice and had heard you were in Peter's car I knew you'd win it. After all you'd accomplished in the PGT car (like at Ramada for example) I figured it'd come down to you vs. Leon. You both did great! Congrats Stephan and Chrissie.
- from a rally fan who had a fair idea that a rented car would be calming enough to let the driver's true talent show.
- from a ProPicks competitor who was tickled to ace the PPIHC Open Class.
- from a steward who was happy to have nothing but congenial inquiries to deal with all week - and absolutely not a peep from nor about the Verdier/Beavis entry!
I added to Stephan's mental burden by sharing my ProPicks selections with him and he mentioned how he found all the attention disconcerting. Clearly, he did not let those distractions keep him from scoring a minute-plus margin of victory despite being one of the competitors assigned a time on SS2.
"Great job Stephan Verdier at PPHC"
I add my admiration too and to Graham for the perfect car and prep, it has to feel good.
I'd also like to congratulate Doug for having a finish!
It has been waaaay too long guy, that finish must be a relief.