Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 at 2:21am
2002 U.S. 2WD rally champion Lauchlin O’Sullivan and co-driver Scott Putnam ended Day One at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood sixth overall and second in the Super Production category. They’re locked in a tight battle with 2011 U.S. Super Production champion Travis Hanson and his father/co-driver Terry Hanson. Only 46.9 seconds separate the two teams as they face eleven more stages tomorrow. Here’s an analysis of Day One from both Putnam and O’Sullivan.
Putnam: It was an interesting evening. We’re second in SP and sixth overall. Stage three was just a hoot. Wide flowing. I think we just went screaming through there. It was 7.59 miles of Ozark foothills and we finished fifth overall and first in the SP category.
The second half of the stages were just a little tougher. We pulled up to the start of stage four and we had a flat tire. There other things that weren’t very major. Like I reached for the navigation light and the bulb blew out. So I had to do the night stages with a flash light. It was just one thing after another.
There was lots of dust. I think after Antoine L’Estage went out Travis Hanson was able to move up to fifth on the road and the top five cars have two minute dust gaps between them so he had better visibility with that two minute window. But I think we beat him by 2.3 seconds on that last stage so that was pretty cool. We keep plugging away and work through it.
All the setup issues have been taken care of. The setup on the suspension seems to be OK. But there are other things. We have intermittent brake failure so they go away sometimes. That’ll have to be corrected. We hit a rock on stage one and did some damage to the exhaust so now it sounds different. When we started out this morning it sounded angry and now it doesn’t. It sounds more like a regular car instead of a rally car.
I don’t think it’s anything too major. I think the navigation bulb we can get from a local store. The exhaust might take some work. It was kind of interesting on stage with the dust later on in the evening.
As far as strategy, we’re about 45-46 seconds in back of Travis so we’ll do our best to try and catch him. The roads are more technical. I’m sure we have some fast flowing stages but there’s a lot of technical things that are tight and twisty. There are some water crossing which are a new challenge. It’ll be interesting to see how the car handles the water. A couple seem to be rather deep like four or five inches.
Lauchlin: Travis got a bit lucky with the dust. I don’t know how much it might have helped him but I wish we had that window too. Just unlucky to be the sixth car on the road instead of the fifth. Just so many issues today. If we can get things right it should be much easier tomorrow. I just look forward to it especially after all the bad luck tonight and today, I guess. There’s a lot that can be done tonight that should make the car come around. We’re very much looking forward to it.
There’s some decent stages during the day tomorrow. It just seems little things are biting us. We feel like we can get some good stage times and really do some damage; not just against Hanson but overall. I love these roads out here. Today’s roads were just beautiful. There was one that was all forest and trees. It was really cool.There is some high speed stuff tomorrow. If we can work out the power issue and we can have a powerful car tomorrow it will be to our benefit.