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Rally is a fickle mistress....

Started the light day of Rallye Defi today and had two stages that we ran multiple times.

All were fairly smooth, but very fun. The latest iteration of T-4 was squirrelly on the first stage and I was sure that something was wrong until I heard other drivers complaining of similar handling issues.

Jennifer Daly, latest addition to the LDR co-driving roster, was doing a fantastic job of calling the notes and the LDR crew was doing their usual job of swarming on T-4 at service along with the help of Tim Chevallier and Nate Sockalexis. Duncan, Ken, Alex and Nigel all worked their derrieres off to keep us on the road.

Prior to the third stage, the first run through the awesome Palomino stage near town, we fueled up. As we exited the fueling area, the car died and wouldn't fire. I had no idea what I could have done to cause the car to die. We raised the crew on the radio and I got out and popped the hood.

Some fellow competitors suggested that we take the penalty for illegal service and get the car back in to the service area and sussed out. Iain from Planet Motorsport and Stewart Ho from CanJam came over and they quickly suspected a fuel issue.

The fuel line was taken off the filter and the pump cycled. Out came some sort of Quebecois Frappe that bore no resemblance to 109 octane race fuel. :-(

I had wanted to bring some extra fuel to the race as the car had been thirsty at the recent New England Forest Rally. We filled a few jugs with fuel from some half full drums that we had around. It was clear that water had somehow found their way into the drums.

After draining the fuel tank and replacing the filter, the crew got some fresh fuel in T-4 and she fired right up.

We were late. How close to max lateness, we didn't know. All the other cars were in Parc Expose downtown Ste. Agathe. We knew they'd still be there and decided we'd head down and check in to the control and continue on in the rally.

Arriving at Parc Expose, we found no control in place and Jen discussed our case with a couple of event officials. She was told that we were probably max late. Despite this, we decided we'd continue on according to the rally structure and discuss the issue with event stewards after the last stage.

Unfortunately, the event is not broken up into separate regional events, rather a national and regional event that span both days. We had exceeded permitted lateness and therefore were listed as DNF in both events and deemed unable to start Saturday's portion of the event.

Once again having to stare our old friend Force Majeure in the face, we were gutted. I explained the situation to the crew, who were working hard preparing the car for Saturday's stages. Once the shock wore off, we did what we always did and packed the service rig and headed out for dinner.

Some well deserved food and good company found us in better spirits.

So, what does a rally team with a perfectly good car do when there's a rally going on without them!? Well, some of the crew will be helping to provide service for the WASHPA racing team and I'll be heading out to the stages with photog Mark Fleming and uber-tanned friend Ryan.

It's possible that we may have to engage in the ancient rally tradition of displaying our own version of astronomical bodies to passing competitors, but that depends an awful lot on the weather and the density of biting insects! ;-)

Thanks to all who have wished us well for this event. A special thanks to Jennifer Daly for strapping into the right seat and doing a great job on recce and on the stages in the beast known as T-4. :-)

We're sorry that we couldn't complete the event and will not get a chance to experience Elmit, Lac Barbiche, Mulgrave or some of the other gnarly stages tomorrow.

As always, we'll regroup and be out on the stages again soon, pitting ourselves against the elements, our competitors and ourselves in this awesome sport we simply call rally.

Thanks to B. Gilles LaCroix for organizing a fantastic event.

Cheeers! John

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