Salem, MO. (March 18-19th, 2016) – As the second round of the 2016 Rally America National Championship approached, the weather radar was clear and the entry list long. Perfect conditions for HPD and Maxxis to once again showcase the 2015 B-Spec Honda Fit!
The stage roads of 100 Acre Wood Rally 2016 would see five B-Spec competitors challenge for championship points, the largest field to date. Alongside the HPD/Maxxis Fit, a Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, and Chevy Sonic would be joined by the Rally America Star Car, a 2009 Honda Fit piloted by RealTime Racing drivers Peter Cunningham and Ryan Eversley!
“I’m very happy to see the size of the B-Spec field at this event.” said HPD/Maxxis driver Jordan Guitar at Park Expose on Day 1. “It is shaping up to be a great event, especially with the weather looking spectacular. We are very excited to start the rally!” The roads of 100AW are famously fast, flowing, and mixed with tight and technical sections. Day One would consist of five stages, a service, and then four more stages that would carry into the night.
After the first five stages, the 2015 Fit was sitting in first place in B-Spec with a very tight lead of only six seconds over fellow Honda teammates Cunningham and Eversley, and had pulled out three minutes ahead of the Toyota Yaris. “The stages we just finished actually have a lot of grip on them,” stated Guitar at service. “It looks like there may be some rain coming, so it could get slippery later.”
As the cars drove into the night, the team of Cunningham and Eversley started to pull out some time on the duo of Guitar and William Jang. The rain started at just over a drizzle and by the last stage was coming down harder. As the teams came into service, the 2015 Fit was sitting in second place, some 40 seconds behind the 2009 Fit.
“We are happy with the car’s performance so far. The car is holding together just fine and the Maxxis tires had plenty of grip,” Guitar noted after the finish. “We are going to try and step up our game tomorrow and see if we can make up some time!”
Although the temperature prediction for Day Two was around 40 degrees, it would be sunny and perfect for the fast roads in Salem. “Yesterday was great,” said Jang, first time co-driver for the HPD/Maxxis Fit, “These roads suit the Fit quite well and it really shows off its potential.”
After completing just two stages, the cars were back at the first service of the day. The HPD/Maxxis B-Spec Fit had gained only about two seconds on the first place team. “I made a mistake on Stage 11,” Guitar explained, “I carried way too much speed into a tight right-hand corner, and ended up spinning to the left side of the road under some caution tape. Luckily, we were able to make a speedy recovery and kept going.”
The roads of 100AW can be a trying place for rally cars, and this year was no exception. Two B-Spec cars would suffer damage which would eventually lead to DNF’s (Did Not Finish), joining them with 19 other competitors by the end of the two-day event.
After a hard fought battle, the HPD/Maxxis team would finish first in B-spec and third in 2WD. “We are very pleased with our finishing position,” stated Guitar, “although it’s unfortunate that all the B-spec cars weren’t able to make it. The Maxxis tires had tons of grip out there. The Fit performed wonderfully, and we had tons of fun. We are looking forward to the next round out in Oregon.”
Look for the HPD/Maxxis B-Spec Fit to continue its hunt for the championship in April, at Oregon Trail Rally in Portland, OR.