Black River Stages proved to be quite an attrition rally for AWD cars this year. The 2012 running of Black River Stages claimed 4 cars on the very first stage; Peter Malaszuk/Dominik Jozwiak rolled their vehicle, Martin Egan/Jarrah Lankas hit a tree, Eric Wages/Sarah Montplaisir blew their motor, and Steven Czwalga/Steven Czwalga barely made it off stage 1 with rear differential failure.
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The rally was also proving difficult for the Black Box rally team, which was plagued by mechanical setbacks and road penalties. A wheel fitment error forced the team to run on 1 set of previously used tires throughout the entire rally.
“We knew going into the rally that BRS would be tough. There was not ample time to test the car, so the first couple stages ended up being the shakedown for the rally car” Driver Alvin Fong said. A shakedown refers to a practice stage that competitors are usually privy to prior to the start of the rally.
Black Box rally team was off pace on day 1, accumulating over 4 minutes of penalties.
“After stage 5, we were pulled over for ‘insufficient tail lamps’, giving us a massive late penalty to the next stage. It was an almost comical series of misfortunes” stated Alvin Fong.
With the penalties, the team was left in 14th overall out of 27 starters. Most teams probably would have thrown in the towel at this point, but Alvin Fong was undeterred, vowing to set the pace on day 2.
And set the pace they did, with 8 stages left of the rally, the team of Alvin Fong/Amber Stacy clawed their way up from 14th overall to 4th overall; taking over 2 minutes back from the AWD leader. This allowed Black Box rally team to secure 1st Overall AWD in their stock heavy class Evo.
All photos credited to B Machin (firstname.lastname@example.org)