Rally: the original motorsport
Photo Courtesy of Tim Winker
Photo Courtesy of Warwick Patterson
unknown photographer
Photo Courtesy of plaftaphoto
Rally New York
Monticello, NY
April 17th, 2004
Quicktime footage of us on stage
(4mb, right-click-save-as)

What had begun as a real positive event rapidly hit some snags. On the very first stage we hit a sharp rock with the corner of the skid plate hard enough to dent the metal and crack the gearbox case. At the beginning of SS2 I was able to get out of the car and evaluate the situation, we were losing gear oil but not rapidly enough to cause a problem as long as we kept the 'box topped up. The gearbox was topped up at the beginning of every stage after that.
While we were posting very good stage times there was a timing mis-communication that was costing us 2 minute penalties for every stage we ran! Once this was realized we settled back to just finish the event. Between the gearbox problem and the timing errors there was no point in pushing it hard.

We didn't fall off the pace that much and even caught the car in front of us on the 15 mile stage (SS5). Since this was a fast open class Evo IV we were very pleased to have caught and passed it! Dirk actually got some footage of us shortly after we passed the Evo, check it out here.
However, as likely as it was looking for us to finish another event the Rally Gods are fickle. While running SS8, a tarmac stage, it came to a crashing halt. We were negotiating a R4 into L4 and as we passed the apex on the L4 the rear end started to dance. At the speed we were going, 85mph, it was all over in a matter of miliseconds. The car skipped off the road on the outside, turning 90 degrees as it did. This positioned us to get broadsided by 2 trees on the driver's side. My co-driver was ambulanced to a nearby hospital where he was treated and released. I was airlifted to Valhalla Hospital with amnesia, partial collapse of the left lung and a broken ankle.
The seats, harnesses and more importantly the cage and car itself did their jobs very well. The trees impacted on the A pillar and B pillar respectively and the only major crush zone was at the A pillar. Everyone who has seen the car feels that it performed very well from a safety point of view. This makes me feel good about the integrity of a Saab.
Here are some good shots of us negotiating the beautiful stages of Rally New York. The car really was performing very well and we had no mechanical difficulties other than the leak in the gearbox. It really is a shame that we couldn't finish the event. There were many people at the event to root for the green Saab and enjoy the Spring day.
I was hoping to give all the people that came out a good finish so we could celebrate afterwards but alas it was not to be. My one consolation is that everyone said we were really moving along, as fast as the open class cars and faster than most of the field. We were posting consistent top 20 stage times and only seconds behind the leading Group 5 car (not counting our penalties).

Enjoy the photos of the green machine, unfortunately these are the last photos that were ever taken of it. It makes me sad, the car was really starting to look good. Thanks to everyone that came out to the event and thanks to all the photographers who snapped some photos of us!

© 2004 Team Saabworks
Team Saabworks is in no way affiliated with Saab AB or Saab USA (although they could sponsor us, really we wouldn't complain!)