Posted By RichC on March 1, 2006
For those of us interested in diesel powered small cars, we enjoy the exposure the RallyVW team gives to not only to our Volkswagen TDIs, but biodiesel as well. The 2006 Rally-America season is preparing for the third race of the season as the end of February marks a finish to the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Salem, Missouri. The race followed the January Sno*Drift rally in Atlanta, Michigan which was actually mild this year. According to the always positive Dan Sykes, the RallyVW team is “on the verge of doing something very, very cool and thats beating the fastest 2wd rally cars in the world over the course of a season. There is a long way to go but we can get it done.”
Jon Hamilton heads the team as driver, car owner and do it all team spokesman. In real life, he’s a father, husband and fireman from central Ohio who is personality plus and will eventually make some sponsor extraordinarily pleased; what else besides winning a National Championship could a sponsor ask for?
I still find it hard to believe that a biodiesel producer has not begged for positioning on the side of support truck and/or hood of the impressive TDI Rally Golf. It a perfect marketing match in my opinion.
The postings on the TDIClub by Jon, Dan and Oliver gave the followers of the RallyVW team a brief update as to how well the car and driver (and co-driver Ken Sabo) were doing. The rally is held over a long weekend in stages and after the first stage Jon’s comment speaks for itself: “It has been a very hard month after snow drift for the team, it was for me at least. We had so much trouble with traction that we had no idea what to expect and a bit of doubt (once again on my part at least) about the A4 TDIs ability to really go toe to toe with the fastest 2wd rally cars in North America and this car is doing it folks. I could wax poetic all night but facts are we are matching times and beating fast fast cars and we are just getting started. We have more left to come because every time we go out we forge new ground. We learn more and take that back to those we work with and get stronger, faster and better as a result.” After day one the guys were excited and in the running for a solid finish and possible 2wd first place.
Unfortunately on day two the Rally Golf pick up a large rock which didn’t play well inbetween the brake caliper and the rear wheel. The delay cost them 3 minutes (est) which was enough total time to make it near impossible to get a first place G5 Class finish. Wisely, Jon chose to finish the race for the overall point and not risk running hard in hopes to make up a few seconds of time. The G5 teams, an Eclipse and Dodge SRT4, now running first and second would have suffered a breakdown for Jon and Ken to catch them. Nevertheless, they were able to finish 3rd and complete the day with a healthy car. (minus one wheel) This finish (key word) puts them in the lead for the championship at this point of the season. Cross your fingers.