In performance rally it’s supposed to be the stage roads that deliver the rollercoaster thrills. But for the Canadian privateer team competing in the 2019 Rallye Monte Carlo from Jan. 23-27th it was the road to the starting line that provided the challenges and bumps.
After successes in the World Rally Championship (WRC) at Corsica and Monte Carlo in 2016 and 2017 with rented racecars, the County’s Ian Crerar and his Clearwater Design Racing team acquired a 300,000-km 2006 Porsche 911 and transformed it into an R-GT class performance rally car. They built the car in the back of ClearWater Design’s kayak manufacturing shop in Prince Edward County.
Then they had to get the car through numerous technical inspections to get permission in race in Europe. And that’s where the challenges began.
From the safety cage to special foam designed to absorb impacts to the doors, to the engine, brakes and more, the team had many details to attend to before the race began. And with the car already in Europe in the care of Chazel Technologie Course, the race shop that supported the Canadian effort, the hurdles expanded to include time zone differences and language barriers.
At the final technical inspection, the day before the race, the car required a couple additional welds to the cage, which the team’s two Canadian technicians, Nick Boucher and Eric Vlasic had to effect in a borrowed shop in Gap, France where the race begins. It was right down to the wire, with the privateer car being the last one to clear the tech inspection.
As the race was about to begin, Crerar was emotional about making it to the start line.
“I absolutely can’t believe it after a year worth of work and six months of worrying and re-doing things we have in fact passed tech and we have a car ready to run Monte Carlo,” he said.
The team made it to the start line and Crerar and co-driver Christina Kroner fought through a rally beset with cancelled stages and icy roads only to suffer a minor off that left the car with a damaged radiator and not enough time to fix it.
But in spite of the setback, Crerar is thrilled with the team’s success.
“It is quite a thing to have put together a car, be competing in a World Championship, completely self-funded, and with a car built in the back of a kayak shop,” he said.
The car will be repaired and ready for the next R-GT event, which runs at the WRC Rallye du France, held in Corsica in March. The team plans to compete in the full 2019 R-GT Cup championship season with races throughout the year. These are high-speed performance rally events, run on tarmac on the most challenging roads in Europe.
The FIA R-GT Cup was created in 2015, and is being contested for the fourth time in 2018. It takes place in conjunction with tarmac rallies that are part of the European Rally Championship (ERC) and the World Rally Championship (WRC).
Source: Country Life