Rallying was something I wanted to try at least once in my life. I couldn’t imagine how it would be like to drive fast on dirt roads. There are a lot of old rally drivers in the Philippines, and I wanted to know why they pine for the good old days when they reminisce about their exploits. I thought it would be impossible to try rallying, thinking the scene was dead.
But then the people behind the Philippine Rallycross Series found a suitable venue to organize an event in. When I found out, I went with the Kuhol Garage “B-Car”, a bone stock 1998 Hyundai Elantra, took the Kuhol Garage team and headed to Noveleta, Cavite.
The Elantra does not have a high carriage height. It’s a bit lower than the contemporary Civic EK. With all the ruts and yumps that the eked-out course had, clearly our attempt to increase ride height was a step in the right direction.
However, it was a flawed one. 205/65-15 tires were too large a diameter for the Elantra’s small wheel wells. It was rubbing like mad when turning, soaking up bumps, and most anytime you operate the vehicle in anger. It did raise the car up some. But upon inspection of the undercarriage, you could see streaks of dirt at places it was contacting the road surface. We have to find a better solution if we chose to play again with this car.
But that might just happen. It was a blast! When you race in a low traction surface, you discover all sorts of fun. Suddenly all the advice given to us by 10-time rally champion Vip Isada during the Motorsports Development Program became clear and applicable.
I didn’t need to pretend I was Sebastian Loeb – I was just trying to survive the event! But we raced and made it home in one piece. But a few weeks later we discovered the fuel tank about to fall off from the car! The tank must have contacted the road and pushed one of the straps off its moors. Really this car is too low for such rough work.
We took a video of some of the moments we had during the race event. A random spectator wanted to ride shotgun and so we took him in a timed run. The video was shot on a cheap cellphone, so pardon the image quality. Our 5th-place class standing was probably okay given the mechanical empathy we extended and our inexperience in this type of motorsport.
Check out the video after the jump. Hope we can do this again! And if we do, we’ll take more vids!