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Monday, January 13, 2014

Rally Fit Champ

Houghton, MI. (October 18-19th, 2013) – HPD and THR head to 2013 Lake Superior Pro Rally with B-Spec Honda Fit

Team Honda Research partnered with Honda Performance Development to showcase the B-Spec Fit developed specifically for Rally competition at the Lake Superior Pro Rally (LSPR), the seventh and final round of the Rally America National Championship. 
 Moving into the final National Championship round, the B-Spec Fit was already assured of the Manufacturers’ Championship, based on its strong finishes through Round Six.  With the B-Spec drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships also locked up over the second-place Toyota team, LSPR would promise to be an exciting, albeit somewhat relaxing, event to finish the 2013 season.
“We wanted to come to LSPR to finish the season strong, and also extend a chance to have the President of Rally America co-drive for us,” said Honda B-Spec Rally driver James Robinson at the beginning of the two-day event. “It’s important for everyone to experience Rallying, and we couldn’t have had a better championship situation to allow us to bring in a guest co-driver.”
With nine stages to contest on Day One, the Fit set off with the new team of James Robinson and Bill Fogg Sr.  “Our goal for this event is to give Bill a chance to see Rallying from a new perspective, and to also have a great time!” James said.  The full THR crew came to support the last-round effort, so there was plenty of support to keep the B-Spec Fit running strong.
By Stage 4, The Fit was running clean, with no issues.  “Bill is really picking up the notes quickly and I’m gaining more confidence to push the pace a bit!” stated James at the first major service of the day.  “At this rate, we might be able to give the B-Spec Toyota Yaris a good fight this weekend.  I’d love to help Bill finish his first race, and get him his first win, as well.”
By the end of Day 1, the new team of James and Bill had worked up a five-minute gap over the B-Spec Toyota and had finished the day with no road points or mechanical issues with the car.  “This is really an incredible result for someone who has never co-driven before,” said James at the finish of the first day.  “Not only has Bill gotten better on each stage, but we’re now building up a good lead over the Toyota.”
Starting Day 2, the B-Spec Fit cleaned up and readied for the last eight stages of LSPR.  Having had no issues a day earlier, the team elected to make no changes to its setup.  “We really have no issues to address and our main focus is to keep our lead in B-Spec and stay on the road,” James said at Parc Expose.  “The course was pretty slippery yesterday; we’re hopeful that the sun stays out and we get a few dry stages.”
Despite a wild weather mix of sun, rain, and sleet, the B-Spec Fit continued to gain speed and confidence.  “I think we’re both having a great time today, and it’s a good opportunity for us to yet again showcase the reliability and adaptability of the Honda Fit,” Robinson said at the second service of the day.
By the final stage, the B-Spec Fit had built up a solid 10-minute lead over the second place B-Spec Toyota.  “Bill has helped us to keep our pace up over the last eight stages, and this puts us in a great place for wrapping up the 2013 season,”  Robinson noted.
At the end of the LSPR event, the Fit had finished first in B-Spec, sixth in 2WD, and 15th overall.  “We couldn’t have asked for a better finish to the event, or to the season,” said an elated James at the finish.  “With the strong result today, we were not only able to win the B-Spec Manufacturers’ Championship, but also the Drivers/Co-Drivers Championship, and finish fourth overall in the two-wheel-drive category!”
Look for the THR B-Spec Fit to defend its title next year in the 2014 Rally America B-Spec Championship
About Rally America:
Based in Williston, VT, Rally America, Inc. sanctions the Rally America National Championship, which consists of at least seven national-level events located at a variety of venues across the country, from Portland, Oregon to Newry, Maine. Top competitors in the Rally America National Championship reach speeds of well over 100 miles per hour, driving highly modified street cars such as Mitsubishi Evolutions, Subaru WRX STIs, Ford Fiestas and Scion XDs on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt, ice or snow. For more information regarding Rally America’s National Championship or the sport of performance rally, visit www.rally-america.com

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