HPD Blog

Friday, July 28, 2017

Maxxis / HPD Post Strong, Three-Podium Finish at Rally Colorado!

Rangely, Colorado. (July 22-23, 2017) – Maxxis renewed its partnership with Honda Performance Development to continue campaigning the 2015 B-Spec Fit developed specifically for Rally competition at the Rally Colorado (RCO), the seventh and eighth rounds of the 2017 Rally America National Championship.  In addition, the veteran Honda rally team would finally be debuting the 2017 Honda Civic Sport hatchback in overall two-wheel drive (2WD) competition. 

This Colorado Rally would serve as the second round for display of the new Civic Sport Rally car.  With a strong finish at the Southern Ohio Forrest Rally, the Maxxis / HPD team was hopeful of maintaining the momentum at the new Colorado Rally.

“It’s awesome to get to work on the brand new Civic platform,” stated James Robinson, Honda engineer and driver for Maxxis/HPD. “Although we’ve had to postpone our plan to utilize the 300-horsepower engine from the new Civic Type R, we are still looking forward to having more horsepower than the Honda CR-Z that we ran at 100 Acre Wood event [earlier in the season].”

The team was still struggling to get an updated suspension for the Civic Rally car, which would leave it at a distinct disadvantage in the rough terrain of Rally Colorado.  “We were hopeful that the rally springs and dampers would arrive in time for the car to be shipped to Colorado,” explained James at Scrutineering.  “Running stock ride heights and soft springs will definitely add some complications to our race.”

The Rally Colorado is set in the rugged, mountainous terrain of western Colorado, making it a beautiful and challenging round in the National Championship. The rough, fast, yet technical roads for the RCO would allow drivers to test their courage while dealing with dangerous exposure and sheer drop-offs. The high altitude offered an additional challenge, sapping power and the concentration of the teams. 

“This is the first time for any of us to run these roads ever,” Robinson explained, “Considering our stock suspension and the new platform that we’ll be testing out, we are very interested in keeping our Civic in one piece, while hopefully keeping some competitiveness with our competition.”

With six stages to contest on the opening day, the new Civic and the B-Spec Fit teams set out to establish a strong pace against the competition.  “The B-Spec cars will have to work very hard to keep their pace in these conditions,” driver Dan McCarron noted at the first service of the day.  “The stages are really challenging, but we’re ready to attack!”

After Stage 3, the new HPD / Maxxis Civic rolled into the first service with no problems.  The veteran team of James Robinson and Brian Penza was playing it safe, balancing speed with care over the rough terrain.  “These stages are incredible!  The backdrop for these roads is second to none, and I’ve never before seen such a wide variety of terrain,” noted Robinson at service.  “We’re trying to push the pace on the smooth sections, and take extreme care in the rough bits to save the car.”

In addition to the B-Spec Fit and the new Civic, the Maxxis CR-Z returned in the hands of 2016 B-Spec National Champion Jordan Guitar.  This would be the second event where the Maxxis / HPD team would field three National Rally cars at the inaugural running of RCO. 

By the end of Day 1, all three cars were running well and trouble free.  “So far, we’re very excited to be here at RCO,” Jordan said during service, “The stages are fantastic, and you can’t beat the scenery!”

Moving into Day 2, the Civic team was making up time against its competitors.  “We’re working hard to get our car on the 2WD podium,” observed Robinson before the start of the final stages, “It’s definitely going to be a race to the finish.”

Unfortunately, for CR-Z team, a hard hit on the skidplate did significant damage to the engine mounts.  “We were really starting to get the hang of the stages here at RCO, but we took a big hit on a jump and it unfortunately forced us to stop so we wouldn’t do further damage to the car!” said Guitar at the second service on Day 2. 

Proving that the new Civic platform will be a contender, the team of Robinson and Penza was able to move the Civic into third place in 2WD and 10th overall.  “I’m so impressed with how durable this new Civic is,” Robinson observed. “Even with the disadvantage of the stock suspension, it’s amazing that we’re able to keep up with the top teams!”

By the end of Day 2, the Maxxis / Honda team had secured some excellent finishes, taking third in 2WD, 10th  overall for the new Civic; and first in B-Spec, 16th overall for the B-Spec Fit. In addition, the CR-Z had finished third in 2WD during the Friday regional event.

“What an amazing event for our team,” said Robinson at the event’s conclusion.  “Even with the DNF from the CR-Z on Day Two, we were able to get three podium finishes!”

Rally Colorado Rally Results:
Overall Finish Time
In Class
Honda Civic
Honda Fit
Honda CR-Z

Look for the THR B-Spec Fit, CR-Z and the new THR Rally Civic throughout the 2017 Rally America Series.

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