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ok (just got back 2 days ago) here is my story:

the recce went very well, with NO crashes on my part (although there was another head-on with no injuries for car 74)

we had 'engine trouble' from mexico which was compounded by some things we uncovered during pre-event testing in NZ which meant the crew had to work flat out while we were on recce

however, at the shakedown, the car felt and ran better than it ever has before. We were now running properly with the guys that at mexico were 3s/km ahead of us (mexican shakedwn). It felt good and fast. We were really pumped up for the rally, and we were also running the latest spec gearbox after our swedish and NZ adventures, and it felt very very postiive indeed. I was hungry for a decent result and we no longer had the pressure of any upcoming rallies (as most people do not know, this is the same car we have been using in sweden, quebec, mexico, nz). Instead of being 2-3s/km off pace we were less than half a second/km off the fastest guys (Arai/Crocker).

Unfortunately, it started badly as I lost the wipers on SS1/SS2 in a big downpour. It was very difficult to see anything but we made it through. the tight road section between the two stages meant that I couldnt fix it until the ss2/ss3 break.

We were running well on ss3 according to our provided splits. I think this was mostly due to my rage from ss1/2. Near the end of ss3 we rolled off a tough left hand corner, landing upside down (being stopped from rolling any further by the tree sticking out 90 degrees to the slope). It was after a long right hander that opened blindly, but just after it opened the road went 90 left (almost) with about 15 degrees of bank. A good bit after I had upshifted to 4th (right in the meat of the powerband), I then saw where the road stopped opening up, the 90 left. We knew then and there we weren't going to make it.

After rolling out and waving to the 3 rescue helicopters (who were there within 3 minutes), the 6 specatators at this exact corner told us that this is 'their spot'. Last year this was the same corner that the rally was stopped, where marrko martin went off, and then 2 tv guys got collected by an evo while filming markko. It was also the same corner that got Sainz 2 years ago (he got out of it after rocking it with their help), etc. etc. It is one of those new zealand 'car collector' corners. We had to work very very hard to make sure that no one else came in ! A lot of guys came close !! You couldnt see the car from the road.

In any case, it was a bummer because we knew we didn't get any chance at all to show our potential, and after sweden it makes it harder. I should have had a better note at this corner, and maybe should have been driving with more in reserve, but its a catch 22. Drive to the notes (and deal with it if they are bad) or drive with more in reserve. I think the fact that we set crappy times on ss1/ss2 due the wipers meant that I was pushing harder and had less room for error for the crappy note at that corner.

thats rally ! a long way to go for 50kms ! In retrospect, I should have just dealt with the wiper problem and not tried to go fast until maybe deutchleand where I know my notes will be better. If i had the luxury of a teacher... :)

-Pat
 

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Congrats Pat......

At this level of competition it's all about "the process of EXPERIENCE". Remember when you first started Regional rally just a few short years ago? You had some ups and downs but when you got your sh*t together and some experience look what happened.The same will happen here too.
You've still got the right attitude and YES...you would have been right up there with the best in the world. It's where you belong Pat...you've earned it and you do have what it takes. Believe me ... in time and a few more outings your true potential will show and SHINE :0)

Like I told you at Rocky last year...when the going gets tough ...remember to "cowboy up" and get it done. :D

Ricardo
Day Trippers Pro Rally Team
 

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nice to hear from a believer but we all have to remember, getting the seat time to make notes and run to them will take a long time - as we do not have enough events in North America to learn at home.

mostly, I just have to accept it and not try too hard, which is hard to do especially when you know everyone is watching. It is a catch 22 because you are trying to get generic people to watch (intentionally) because you need to make sure it is funded, but at the same time you cant have raised expectations. its a fine line. I hope it works out ! We need more pace noted events at home. 2-3 solid years worth should do it ...
 

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Pat, what's next?

If you are still using the same car, and going to Argentina, will you be able to get it to Bighorn? It would be too bad if you'd have to drive McGeer's car for a couple events. :D
 

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Pat,
We all know that the learning curve for making and running notes is very steep, especially running on the world stage. Most guys at that level run a couple devlopment seasons just to get used to the events and get their notes sorted!

I can understand about the, "catch 22," you're referring to. You can't drive with much reserve or you're just driving to finish, and not driving to win. That's the same delimma we all face with when we start a stage. That right foot can get very heavy! ;-)

Remember that this is a learning season(again). Although it'd be nice to set quick times and show your potential, it'll be more worthwhile for next season if you get the fnishes in so you can experience the entire event and develop the notes..

All of us here at Last Ditch Racing are rooting for you, and hope to see you some time this season! :)

Cheers! John
 
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