Mud, Scandinavian flicks, and AWD.
Now that we’ve built up the fundamentals, we could start doing more complicated moves. The first part of the day we ran a slalom that tightened on one side. This was tricky for me. Sometimes I would drive an autocross line trying to hug the cones, which would put me way too late for the next 2 or 3 corners. The last tight corner needed a big slide to the right, with full power and decent brake force, then a left turn and a lift on both pedals to get the car to rotate. I kept running an early apex two corners before the big rotation and it would completely screw me up.
Next we got to focus on the pendulum turn. A lift, sharp turn, brake, sharp turn, brake release would really get the car to rotate a lot. The hard part for me was that holding the brake on too long would just cause massive understeer. Once the car rotates and the brake is released, the weight transfer snaps the back around and the car comes out pointing right at the exit. Super fun.
After lunch, we ran the offset slalom combined with the pendulum turn. I had most of the run down well, with the car rotating well, but if I got a bad exit from an early apex, I would be totally out of position on the flick. I got it well a few times, and it felt awesome. This is where we were starting to connect all the corners.
After this, we finally got upgraded to some AWD cars. The two cars we used were a mid-90s Impreza and a quattro 4000. My first runs were in the Subaru. We had to change our technique somewhat, lifting for turns instead of holding full throttle like on the Fiestas. These cars also had boosted brakes, so the left foot braking had to be very sensitive. Once I got the rhythm, the car felt very planted and eager to go faster.
Just as I was getting used to the Subaru, I jumped in the Audi. Very different feel. The 4000 was like a tank. Lifting created enough weight transfer to get good turns. I was getting comfortable enough to push the car hard. I could lift, turn, dab the brake, and power out of turns very well. One of the instructors said I was good at throttle steering out of the corners. I hadn’t realized I was doing it, but that’s the instincts I have from all the RWD rallycross. By the end of the day I was carrying speed well.
We finished up with a classroom session about the logistics of rallying. Preparing a car, signing up, paperwork, and what happens before and between the stages. The big things I got from it were good planning and reading the rules all the way through twice. Three times for the co-driver.
Tomorrow we’ll be doing more pendulum turns and running some roads. I’ll be breaking out the GoPro finally. Stay tuned...