It was a monumental finish at The Canadian Rally Championships this weekend as driver Chris Martin and co-driver Brian Johnson piloted the Innovative Tuning powered Subaru WRX to their first national event win, overtaking the big named favorites at the Rally of the Tall Pines. The Rally of the Tall Pines was the final race of the 2013 season for the CRC (Canadian Rally Championship), as a part of the NARC (North American Rally Cup), attracting competitors and fans from across the US and Canada. With extreme early winter conditions, the excitement of the rally was non-stop, but did not bother the team which favored the slick surfaces.
Talking with Martin, the team did not expect for the competition to fall off as fast as they did. The team was always focused on finishing above all else. Going up against the large teams of Rockstar sponsored Antoine L’Estage, Subaru Canada backed Pat “Rocket” Richard and privateer “Crazy Leo” Urlichich, the Old School Motorsports team of Martin and Johnson had humble a target of finishing the event above all else.
“In the early stages all we were looking at was our times in comparison to regional competitors. The next loop of stages we put on our new tires. Our game plan again was to just drive, we knew we had moved up a bunch, but there was tons of rally left” reflected Martin. The team had actually moved up from 19th to 5th.
“After the guard wire ‘can opened’ the front fender, we took it as a wake up call, and backed it down a notch,” stated Martin. The steady pace turned out to be a successful strategy as multiple teams suffered tire flats and mechanical failures, putting the team in contention for the win.
The team did not go through the event without their share of challenges. They suffered a flat tire, a coolant leak which caused overheating, and a fender slicing altercation with a guard wire throwing off the alignment. The problems would not be enough to stop the Old School Motorsports built WRX. With an engine failure taking “Crazy Leo” Urlichich out of the event it only strengthened the importance of the teams reliability on the Innovative Tuning engine.
Articles on the win can be found at:
Chris Martin wins Rally of the Tall Pines
Rally Racing News Leader in the USA | Rally World News
Martin Wins Tall Pines, L'Estage Gets 6th Canadian Title | By Bill Wood
Championnat des Rallyes canadiens : Chris Martin remporte le Rally of the Tall Pines; Antoine L?Estage champion 2013 | RSM
Subaru Canada: Victory at Tall Pines; Second Place Overall in Championship - Press Release - Digital Journal
Subaru Canada: Victory at Tall Pines; Second Place Overall in Championship -- MISSISSAUGA, ON, Dec. 2, 2013
Gallery: 2013 Rally of the Tall Pines - Autos.ca | Page 2
Subaru Canada: Victory at Tall Pines; Second Place Overall in Championship | WardsAuto [primary-term] press release archives
Chris Martin Snatches Incredible Tall Pines Win, L'Estage Claims Championship - CDNRally
The Rally of the Tall Pines » Life Blasters