LSPR – Rally America newsletter – Non-Sequel at Lake Superior

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Non-Sequel at Lake Superior

The only time Pat Moro hopes to get wet this year is at the championship champagne spray.
By David Gee

Okay, let’s get this out of the way right away. Production GT points leader and soon-to-be season champion (he leads the second place PGT driver 114 points to 60) Pat Moro dumped his Subaru in the drink at Lake Superior Performance Rally.

“Plenty of time has passed, I can laugh about it, we’re prepared, and we have flotation devices in the car now, so we’re good to go,” said Moro with a smile.

So what the heck happened?

“We had the practice stage and then this was pretty much the first actually stage of the rally. There was a lot of rain last year and everything was kind of wet and there was a lot of water. But after plowing through some of the water puddles in practice I stated to get kind of overconfident and think they weren’t that bad.

And they were?

“We were coming in to a Right 3 and Mike Rossey my co-driver had called the water on the inside and I came through hard as I had done at the previous water crossings. This time though it was much deeper and it caught the front and hooked it and pulled us right off the side of the road. That was the end of our rally for the day of course. It was a lot deeper than what we thought it was!”

I pressed for details.

“You could feel the car kind of bobble, and at that point it was floating, so I reached down and killed the power and basically saved the electronics. Mike opened his door and I opened mine quickly enough that we could crawl out. It was too bad on a lot of fronts because the car was great and Mike and I were hitting well and putting a pretty good pace down so it was disappointing.”

The disappointing – and surprising – dip in the drink didn’t just end their day though, it also soaked any chances for a PGT championship win as Matt Johnson grabbed a 4th place overall finish, the class win as well as the class championship.

“We had battled Matt all year and in order for him to win the season championship he had to win and I had to get third or fourth or something like that. We just needed to finish decently and we could have won the championship but those hopes got all wet. Maybe I had some overconfidence going or something but it bit me, that’s for sure.”

So the waterborne escapades aside, how does Moro like the event?

“I like the rally a lot. It’s a very tough rally. And Brockway Mountain, the tarmac stage, always stands out in my mind.”

And of course, as we’ve already discussed, the weather stands out in every competitor’s mind as well.

“The Upper Peninsula reminds me a lot of Alaska. You never know with the weather and what you are experiencing at any given time might change soon after. Your dawn and dusk weather conditions are so different for the tires just getting heat into the tires is a critical thing. The area has been getting some rain which is good because they have been kind of dry I understand. We definitely need to pay special attention to the weather and we will put off tire selection right to the last second.”

And if he had to make the decision right now?

“My guess right now though is that we will be going with the soft compounds. Hopefully it stays on the warm side though, especially for Brockway Mountain; the tires just work so much better on that tarmac stage when the temperatures are a little bit higher. I doubt we’ll bring snow tires. The soil is pretty sandy and I don’t think it will cause any big problems even if we do get a dusting. Besides, we pretty much killed off our season long snow tire supply battling the inclement conditions at 100 Acre Wood this year!”

At this point in the year, with only a single rally yet to be contested, I asked Moro if he was surprised to be so far out in front in the class championship standings?

“Absolutely. Some guys, like Stephan Verdier, have had some bad luck. Amy BeberVanzo got sick. Others weren’t able to do the season-long programs they wanted because of the economy or whatever, and so yes, it is a bit of a surprise the way it has turned out. I figured it was going to go down to the wire like last year. I’m not complaining though. I’m happy for us, our sponsors, our crew guys who worked so hard all year both in the Rally America series and getting a new car ready for X Games. I’ll take it! I’m already looking forward to next year and the new competition in the new class of Super Production.”

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~ by lsprblog on October 17, 2008.

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