A career first for me, second place overall! I never thought that I could be in the Icelandic title contention after only one round and missing the first one. The title fight so far this season here in Iceland has been very dramatic to say the least, there have been a lot of retirements in the two opening rallies of the Icelandic championship, in fact only a total of three drivers have been able to score decent points so far, including me. I am currently trailing the leaders of the championship and winners of the last rally (Henning & Árni) by 5 points. If I had managed to beat them last time round the points would be the other way around. So what happened? Were did the 7 seconds lie that we needed to catch up to the leaders?
A few things were missing, most importantly it was the note system. Heimir, my new co-driver for the event did a very good job reading the notes and I can’t thank him enough for jumping in the car with me in only a weeks notice. The mistake was in how I wrote the notes when we were doing the recce the day before. We both have a note system that we are used to driving with but his is a lot different from mine including in what language it is. So I decided to create a new-ish note system, that I could understand and that he could understand while reading it.
On the rally itself it was clear that the notes were correct for each corner but they were just to simplified for me to drive 100% with, so it took me a long time to build up confidence with them. Stage by stage it got better but there was always something missing, which leads me to the next issue, the car.
The car didn’t have any mechanical issues and ran pretty much faultlessly the whole day but the suspension setup was off. Making the switch from the R2 Fiesta to a group A Subaru Impreza proved to be a bigger challenge than I expected. It was both under steering on breaking and slightly over steering when throttle was applied. We had limited testing before the event but since I was running the same setup as I had last year It didn’t worry me. Now however it’s clear that I have to work on the cars suspension setup to get it more to my liking, we decided to soften it up a little but before the last stage of the rally which was also the power stage. The car felt more stable and I felt that I could push a bit more which led us to the power stage victory and 3 extra championship points.
Knowing where the issues lie is a good thing, that means that we can work on them and step up our game on the next rally. I’ve been in contact with Gorgeous George over in the UK and I’m glad to announce that he’s on board for the next rally and maybe even the next two… this means that I will get back to my 100% trusted notes an a co-driver that I have experience working with, but I'm sure that I will work with Heimir sometime again in the future.
Big thanks goes to my favourite uncle and mechanic Siggi, he along side his granddaughter were all the service I had on the rally but they did a fantastic job and they proved that you don't need the biggest and most expensive service team to do well, you just need the right people.
I’ll be hoping for the same level of harsh competition next time out without as many retirements.
Many thanks to the photographers Guðný Guðmarsdóttir (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rallystelpa/) and Malín Brand (https://motorsport.is) for there great pictures.