HPD Blog

Thursday, April 9, 2015

HPD and Maxxis Win B-Spec and get another 2WD Podium at 2015 100 Acre Wood Rally

Salem, MO. (Feb 27-28, 2015) – Maxxis renewed its partnership with Honda Performance Development to showcase the brand new 2015 B-Spec Fit developed specifically for Rally competition at the 100 Acre Wood Rally, the second round of the 2015 Rally America National Championship.

All Photos: Tomasz Dudek www.photographybyvix.com
The Maxxis/HPD Rally Team had already gotten a fantastic first-place result from the new 2015 B-Spec Rally Fit at Sno*Drift, so hopes were high for another good finish at the notoriously unpredictable 100 Acre Wood Rally.  Based on the team’s experience, the weather in Salem, Missouri seemed to fluctuate between perfect gravel rally conditions and snow/ice rally conditions.  The 2015 event was contested in the snow and ice, with the promise of large snow accumulations on Day Two. 

“We had a fantastic first event, where we were able to finish eighth overall, second in 2WD, and first in B-Spec.  Our new 2015 B-Spec Fit was fantastic, and the new CVT gearbox held up great," stated James Robinson, Honda engineer and driver for Maxxis/HPD.  “We’re hoping that the suspension settings and tire modifications that we worked out at Sno*Drift will give us an edge against our new B-Spec competition!” 

Previously, the B-Spec class has been comprised of the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and an occasional Ford Fiesta.  For the 100 Acre Wood event, a new competitor has arrived: The Chevrolet Sonic.  “We’re excited to have more competition in the B-Spec class, and I hope that we’re all able to make it to the finish,” James commented prior to the Rally start.

Starting out on the mostly ice-covered roads, the new Fit was able to build up a 10-minute lead over the Sonic, and a 15-minute lead over the Yaris.  “The road conditions are just absolutely treacherous, and it’s a real struggle to keep the car on the road,” James explained at the end of Stage 5.  Despite these difficulties, the Maxxis/HPD team had moved up to third in 2WD and eighth overall!

By the end of the first nine stages of Day One, the B-Spec Fit was a solid 14 minutes ahead of the second-place Chevy Sonic and was maintaining third in 2WD.  “We couldn’t be happier with our position as well as with the car and tire setup,” stated Brian Penza, returning as Robinson’s co-driver on the Maxxis/HPD rally team. “ Everything seems to be working great, and we’ve been getting fantastic support from our crew.”  

Moving into the second day of competition, the weather started to get worse.  With snow starting to accumulate, the crucial question would be how the icy stages would impact everyone’s stage times.  By the end of Stage 12, the B-Spec Fit was sixth overall, and second in 2WD.  “We were very lucky on those stages,” James said at the first service of the day. “A lot of our competitors suffered punctures on Stage 10, including ourselves. We were able to drive out of the stage on the flat, and change it in time for the long, difficult Stage 11.  Due to that, we were able to actually make up some time!”

The treacherous conditions finally caught up to the B-Spec team on Stage 14, where a particularly icy hill proved nearly impossible to navigate.  “We easily lost four minutes trying to get up that one hill… we were very lucky, though, and we were able to get up the hill with some expert help from the spectators,” noted Penza afterward. “We wish that we hadn’t gotten stuck, but realistically, we got off pretty easy compared to a lot of the other teams.” 

The event started with 60 cars, but only 41 made it to the finish. 

“We were happy to finish with about a 28-minute lead over our competition and have no real issues throughout the event,” said Robinson. “The Fit was fantastic all weekend, and we ended up finishing eighth overall, third-fastest in 2WD overall, and still average 20MPG for the entire event! We’re excited to have to good finishes so far, and hope to carry that momentum into the third round of the Rally America National Championship!”

Look for the Honda Fit at the next round in Oregon!

About 100 Acre Wood Rally:

The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is the second race of the Rally America National Championship and is known as one of the most scenic. Named after the storybook home of Winnie the Pooh, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is a picturesque race with enough twists and turns to test every driver’s ability. Set in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, this race is always a favorite due to its pristine surroundings and fast, tight roads. Although you won’t see Winnie the Pooh or any of his friends, you will see some of the best rally driving on some of the best rally roads in North America.

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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