Let’s talk about “National” Rallies in the US.


Rally is acknowledged as a European sport, so let’s start there. Welcome to the California Rally Series! Often described as a Regional Championship, I want to take a moment and make you think about how BIG our Nation is. Here’s a picture of all of the CRS events with a European County laid over it.Ā We Rally in an area the size of France. šŸ˜ From the Normandy coast all the way down to Monaco. That’s what it’s like to go from IdahoĀ to the Prescott Rally; 1393 Kilometers (865 Miles) away! Here we have a Regional Series where the racers will be towing just as much as one would in the French Federation of Automobile Sport – a National Series! Don’t think for a second that all these rallies are “small regional events”. FourĀ of themĀ are over 100 miles of stages, three of those are 2 day events, and all of them draw talented racers from the area.

Towing cars costs money and time, and time costs money. If you are centrally located in the CRS, your average tow would be about 400 miles to 6 events. Like other series, the CRS drops 50% of your events counting to a championship, but you should do 3 events to be in contention to win saidĀ Championship. To and from 3 events = 2400 miles @ ~10MPG (maybe you get 12… šŸ˜‰) = 240 Gallons of Fuel @ ~$480 (maybe you live in AZ… šŸ˜‰) Drive time? 40 hours behind the wheel of a truck + trailer. Rallies are mostly on Saturdays, some have recce`, some start Friday, but you can bet most of those hours are coming out of your PTO. 40 hours @ $25 = $1000 (maybe you work at a bigger outfit… šŸ˜‰) – and we haven’t even bought tires or fuel for the rally car, nor paid for the ~$750 entry fee.

Want to do a US National Championship? Okay! Using the CRS’s model we scale this up to 12 events and the two coasts of the USA at an average tow of 1500 miles. To and from 6 (50%) of the events = 9000 miles @ ~10MPG = 900 Gallons of Fuel @ ~$1800 Drive time? 150 hours (~19 Days) behind the wheel of a truck + trailer. $3750 worth of Paid Time Off. $5500 Total. Yikes!

With this monetary barrier, we are no longer identifying the fastest drivers in the county, we are identifying the teams that have very flexible day jobs, and lots of disposable income. This describes a tinyĀ percentage of the ~400 teams rallying in the USA. Three events in the CRS works because of the size of the region and the fact that competitors do on average 2.5 events a year. Six events across the giant United States is simply too much for the privateer or clubman rallyist to handle.

This is why the NASA National Rally Championship (NNRC) is setup exactly the way it is. One event from each region is used, usually towards the end of the year, and they alternate (Pacific / Atlantic) each year. Racers qualify using 3 methods throughout the season:

  1. Power Stage Win – Be the fastest down the last stage in 2WD orĀ AWD.
  2. Podium Win – Get on the podium at 100+ mileĀ event.
  3. Series Leader – Be in the top ten in points for the Pacific or the Atlantic.

It is designed to identify fast drivers. If you areĀ talented, you could win the National Championship Title by only attending 2 events. The first event to qualify in your region, and the NNRC event itself. Which might even be close to youĀ this year. šŸ˜€



Finally sporting the rallynotes.com silver and red paint scheme. The team unveiled the new livery at the Prescott Rally last weekend. This is the second car that Kristopher Marciniak has built from scratch and it marks a huge milestone in its development. “We tested the car for one day at North Nevada. New suspension, new everything. It was successful and the time was right to finish the car with a great paint job from Danny’s Auto in Long Beach,” said Kris. Vinyl and stripes from Streetwise Motorsports pull it all together and the lightweight hood from Seibon Carbon not only adds to the performance, but completes the “angry rally car” look. Kris adds; “I love it! This is the rally car that I imagined more then a year ago. It took a lot of work, but it came together great!”

On Friday evening; driver Kristopher Marciniak and Co-Driver (navigator) Christine Marciniak had just settled into a rhythm, when the dust settled in on stage 3. Christine recalls: “It’s never been this bad… I was very worried we were going to go off the road in a big way.” Visibility on the first night stage dropped to zero several times and driving lights became useless in the thick dust. Kris describes it: “We were flying along over a cattle guard and I was setting the car up for a left four (a fairly tight turn at speed) and a wall of dust just moved in. I had to come to a stop and find the edge of the road out my side window before continuing.” Dust was an issue for everyone and after the night was over it was a bit of a surprise to see the team in 1st CRS-2 and 1st in Open 2WD. “It felt like scoring spun a big wheel on Friday stage 3 and handed out random times. We got lucky and I think the fast section of Witty Tom was clear for us, but not for others,” adds Kris. See the video highlights at https://rallynotes.com/2012/10/2012-prescott-rally-highlights/

When they returned to the hotel on Friday night a tire change was performed and the service crew of Brian Driggs and Dan Green discovered a leaking strut. Doug Nagy of Streetwise Motorsports was consulted and late night strut repairs began. A call to Odi from FEAL Suspension gave the team clear repair directions. The leaking O-Ring was replaced and fluid was injected back into the assembly with some makeshift tools including a baby ear and nose cleaner. There is no more resourceful group of people then at a stage rally service park on a Friday night in Prescott.

Saturday morning sitting in 1st with a somewhat repaired rear strut, driver Kristopher Marciniak made the decision to go for it. The team of Eddie Fiorelli and Tom Smith (in 2nd) had been faster on every stage but special stage three. Michel Hoche-Mong trying to avoid a huge rock had crashed on SS2 Friday night. Michel, the clear favorite, was now unable to start day two and the podium was up for grabs. Fiorelli turned up the pace at the same time and beat the Marciniaks on SS5 & 6 in the morning. Now the lead was down to a handful of seconds and rallynotes pushed and won Stages 7, 8, and 9. Going into the final stage 10 with only a 5 second lead, both teams charged down the 20.1 mile Firstville stage. Kris describes: “A lot can happen on a 20 mile stage. We were going 90MPH in places I’ve never gone over 70. We got loose in the middle of the stage and clipped a rock, and I though – that’s it… but it was okay and we pushed all the way to the end.” The final time for Marciniak was 20:35, and Fiorelli had set an amazing 20:20 in his 2.0L VW Golf. Thus taking the lead and winning by a scant 10 seconds. “The competition of the California Rally Series is like no other series. We had a fantastic time pushing the new car hard, and doing great at our first big rally since 2008!” said Kris. The rallynotes team captured 2nd in 2WD at the 2012 Prescott Rally!

What’s next for the rallynotes.com team? Engine upgrades and a full 2013 season! The Marciniaks will be taking the next few months to continue the Dodge Rally Neon 2GN SRT-4 development. Be sure to watch the progress and updates on https://rallynotes.com and more frequent updates at https://rallynotes.com/tumblelog . We’d like to send thanks out to 2GN.org, Neons.org, and gearboxmagazine.com for their support!
See you on the stages!