I know a lot of Mitsubishi owners down under. While most have – or, more accurately, this year, had – Galant VR4s, Peter Dunn has recently added a Subaru Impreza to his stable of race cars. I say “stable,” because he has no fewer than THREE race cars.
A Lead IT Support Officer for a major government infrastructure project with Transport for NSW (New South Wales, for our readers unfamiliar with Ozzie states), Peter lives in Sydney, and you can likely find him either working on a car or riding a Ducati.
Recently, he decided to run WRC Australia in his Group N, 2004 Impreza WRX STi Spec C. It’s easy to think the grass is greener on the other side, but I assure you, in following along with Peter’s pre-race shenanigans, getting to the starting line was harder than you think!
BEFORE THE BIG RACE
Peter and I began our conversation as he was furiously prepping car and team for entry in WRC Australia…
[bd] Pretty sure I started following you because, like Drew McPhee, you had a Galant VR4 rally car. Still have it?
[pd] Of course I do! It’s next in line for a rebuild to full Group A specification, including the Unobtainium Group A “Green” hubs and rear Proflex shock absorbers to match the front Proflex. Not sure on a dogbox yet. I just sent the gearbox to Metal Heaven. 3 years of solid abuse sort of does that!
[bd] I’ve since seen a lot of talk on your Facebook feed about Subarus and, if I’m not mistaken, an RX7. What’s your rally weapon of choice these days? Why and how has it come to this?
[pd] Well, I still have the CHU (Mazda RX2), the Galant VR4 RS Evolution (aka: “Ironside”) [note: That’s right. The Galant VR4 was the ORIGINAL Evo.], and the 2004 WRX STi 2004 Spec C group N car.
The RX7 is now with my father as an ongoing project as a fast road/trackday car using a lot of disused RX2 parts!
The VR4 Runs in the State Khanacross series and is the main workhorse of the fleet. With its Ex-works Group A turbo and Group A Motor, it packs a pretty big right hook; enough to beat the Khanacross specials on the tight tracks like AWABA, Ansel Park, and Vineyard. Around Hampton, the VR4 holds the outright RallySprint course Lap record.
Strangely enough, I really don’t have any drive [laughs] to rally the VR4! That’s where the STi comes in. I’m not saying it’s slow by any means. Its first event out, it got 9th outright with only low beams for headlights!
The STi was previously owned by my brother and was sold to me for a good price as he was sick of its small, niggling issues from previous owners. The car has a good history results-wise. It’s the Ex-Sean Herbert STi, and I also won the last 2 Oran Park Khanacrosses in the car before I owned it.
Between Marcus and myself, the car has been pretty much rebuilt – cage brought up to 2013 FIA specification, full 2004 Spec C running gear, and pretty much everything else in between changed! We had a reasonable result at Rally of Canberra running second hand tyres and pretty much everything in the car was incorrectly setup. Besides a clutch niggle, it didn’t even raise a sweat!
Remind me not to do the wiring loom again!
I have had the Chu (RX2) for 18 years, so it’s more of a pet than a car really. It does the occasional Khanacross and gets me called up to the Stewards at track days for excessive sideways driving. [laughs] Apparently, taking turn 1 at Eastern Creek sideways on purpose is frowned upon!
If the funds look okay, I will hopefully do Targa Tasmania in it next year, but that depends how much Rally New Zealand will cost me.
[bd] From Facebook, I get the feeling it’s a constant struggle just to get to the starting line. What was the most recent issue? Something to do with cams? With all the headaches and seemingly endless frustration, why do you press on (and with so many cars, no less)?
[pd] Latest was Andrew (Navigator) didn’t have enough National events to get the International licence. Two car club presidents and four steward endorsements – plus a whole pile of results later… International Rally Licence.
Car goes to the dyno today to refit the ECU with knock control and antilag for the new 2.5 inch exhaust and PBMS intake restrictor, and I’m installing the anti-shatter 3M window film tomorrow.
Why do I press on? Because racecar!
[bd] Is it harder, as a clubman level competitor, to get into the WRC event down under? How is the process different from, say, a regional event or hill climb?
[pd] Not really that much harder, but EVERYTHING has to be correct – seats, car spec, homologation papers. Remember that TINY pinhole on the cage foot welding that no one cares about? THE FIA SCRUTENEERS CARE ABOUT IT! Lockwires everywhere!
AFTER THE RALLY
[bd] So, Peter! Whaaaaat’s happening? How’d you make off, then?
[pd] Back on planet Earth, or as we say, the BAD BOYZ of the WRC! To the stewards TWICE!
[bd] Yeah. I saw your updates about the €750 fine. For refueling, right? What happened?
[pd] OOOPS! I had misread the fuel supply regulations. [See, Christine? You’re not the only one who skims the supps once in a while! /inside joke] You are supposed to ONLY refuel at designated fuel zones, and from the co-organisers’ fuel supplier UNLESS specified.
Being new to this I thought it was just like any other rally, so what we did was refuel on the way back to service at the specified petrol station – which actually saved me from exclusion as it was illegal fueling and NOT illegal fueling at an unspecified stop!
Also, as the fuel stop was on the other side of the road, I broke Sporting Code 59 – I deviated from the specified route. Apparently, if you get lost in a WRC event you can be excluded! Anyway, I thought I was doing the right thing, And I copped it on the chin.
[bd] What was the other trip to the stewards all about?
[pd] AH! There was a kerfuffle at the start. As I was one of the first cars out for the super special stage, we were directed out the wrong way and missed the tyre check. (Yeah, we are the bad boys of the WRC.)
. . .
[bd] Overall, how was the event? High points? Low points? How did that car perform along the way?
[pd] Best run was Valla 2 and the first super special stage, when we placed 17th overall. Low point was the O2 sensor wiring coming adrift and shorting out the main relay, taking us out of leg one after three stages. (Anyone who bags out the Rally 2 rules can go away.) The re-wire took 4 hours after we got the car back with lots of melted bits, and the car was spot on after! Car was great until we broke the exhaust bolts on the second-to-last stage.
The comedy situation goes to the guy at the creek crossing in the water doing whale impressions.And notable mention to the people doing the human pyramid and my mate (I found out later) standing naked on the fence post.
Rally fans are more insane than the drivers!
[bd] Wow. Sounds like a killer time, mate. Everyone here at Gearbox Magazine will be rooting for the BAD BOYZ of the WRC at Rally NZ, and we definitely want to hear about Targa Tasmania when the time comes, okay? Thanks for sharing.
If you’re into rally, Subaru, old Mitsubishi, or general automotive shenanigans, Peter’s Facebook feed is always a good time. He’s almost always in the shed building some mental race car. If you decide to friend him, tell him Gearbox Magazine sent you!
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