4th Place Open, 4th Place Overall
Electing to save the newer 2008 STi for the RA National events like Olympus and Oregon Trail, Paul and Primitive Racing brought the 2004 bright yellow, open class Impreza STi sedan (“old yeller”) out of its slumber and we hit the roads around Aberdeen and South Bend, Washington in early March.
The first stage out was Blue Slough a TARMAC stage – for which Team Primitive held the record pass (just over 3 minutes); all seemed great and we were only a few seconds out of the record time as we re-learned the car. It went downhill from there though – for reasons unknown to us – during the running of the stage or shortly thereafter, we experienced some loss of power and not typical audible variations in the exhaust note. So noticeable were the unfamiliar sounds that spectators who new the car came to us at various times during the event and asked us “What’s wrong with ol’ Yeller? Why does it sound like that?”
We were never able to diagnose exactly where the loss of power emanated from and chased the gremlins all weekend long – trying one thing after another. Ultimately, we were losing time on most stages to those we typically fought neck-and-neck with…and we were trying to play catch-up throughout the event using sly tire choices and just never slowing down on the slick parts. On top of the mechanical issue, the intermittent snow and ice storms [snow closed several highways we were transiting on] kept us busy on slippery stages – it also cost us some time with a number of spins and a time penalty for knocking down a barricade in a chicane [actually, we never hit it – we just scared it so bad it ended up falling over as we pirouetted around it…at least that’s OUR version].
Back at Primitive Headquarters, we began to dissect the issues by starting with a cylinder compression check. As we pulled the coil pack from the no. 1 cylinder the electrical connector fell completely out…we were devastated. Such a simple item as a loose connection to cause us such issues!! The connector was all but in place and probably worked intermittently all weekend but when we needed consistent power we only really had threecylinders! The plug came out and was a oily mess having not fired in quite some time…in hindsight, we are now SUPERBLY pleased with the Subaru performance based on being pounded by rally stages on only three firing cylinders – in truth, it never ceases to amaze us how much abuse these things will take! Even so we ended up 4th overall / 4th in open class. Not bad on 3 cylinders….