FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Raleigh, NC February 18, 2007
*Spec formula delivers on promise of close racing
*All new cars built for this season
This weekend was the eleventh running of the Sandblast Rally, and it brought with it a whole new class of rally machinery. Rally Spec Focus, a car formula put together by NASA Rally Sport, began its first season with a bang with a whole slew of new cars built just for this class.
The intent of the Rally Spec Focus class it to provide very close racing by mandating a two wheel drive car of high specifications. All competitors are required to have identical top of the line, rally-bred suspension built by DMS, Hankook Tires, Team Dynamics wheels, RaceTech seats and harnesses, and a host of Ford racing parts.
Rally Spec Focus driver Andrew Frick noted, "The car is fast, a huge leap up from the VW I had been developing. Having the spec made the build much easier, there's no way I would have been ready for Sandblast in time if I had to develop this car from scratch. I only had six weeks after getting the car back from having the cage built, and the entire build was done in that time."
Simon Wright and son Kieran Wright were also enthusiastic about the class. "We really wanted to test ourselves against the other drivers. The Rally Spec Focus class gives us the chance to do that without having to wonder if we won or lost due to someone else spending thousands of dollars on a super hot engine."
Burak Tuglu and Mustafa Samli, proudly flying the Turkish flags on their windows, ended up dominating the rally, and taking first in the Rally Spec Focus class. Frick showed his new speed right at the start, matching times with Tuglu to the exact second on the first stage. Although he had more stages that closely matched Tuglu, Frick's podium shot evaporated after a close encounter with a stump on stage three. "It was a tough day for me, but I'm really excited about the season. Matching times to the second after a fourteen mile stage, well I just know that Burak and I are going to have lots of battles this season."
Taking second was the team of Wright and Wright, who unquestionably know that endurance wins championships. A careful and thought out build, attempting to maximize the car's potential within the allowed rules, has been happening behind closed doors for five months. "We wanted to build a very solid car from the get go," reported S. Wright "and this second place shows we definitely accomplished that."
Also making a good name for himself was Hampton Bridwell. Although troubles ended his rally early, he showed promise as he got the car sorted later in the day, and managed to edge out Wright on his last stage. These two will certainly be running neck and neck at future events.
Sandblast Rally took place in and around the towns of Cheraw, Patrick, and Chesterfield, South Carolina.
The rally occurred on Saturday February 17th.
Royalty free images available: (http://www.sandblastrally.com).
NASA Rally Spec Focus is the only spec two wheel drive class in America for rally cars
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