Story by Sean Day (S&J Automotive)
Steve entered his 2006 STI in this years 30th Anniversary Rally Tasmania with only one goal in mind, winning! Federal Race Tyres, Alan Stean was co-driving and had backed Steve with a Sponsorship and Tyre package, naturally looking for a good result in return. So the pressure was on us to prepare and tune the car to be as fast and reliable as possible.
Steve and I put many a late night in, to service and set-up the suspension, using a combination of Tein, Reiger and OEM STI components and even corner weighting of the car as a whole, just for every little bit of fine tuning. Class limitations held us back from using Whiteline Sway-bars and handling components, so we were working within boundaries, but achieved a very satisfying outcome just the same. We managed a test day on a set of the new Federal R-Spec Race Tyres, and made changes based on Steve’s feedback, it was clear that Steve was certainly happy with the Federals right from the on-set.
As far as the engine goes, it remains a Spec-C 2.0L non-forged genuine STI that we stripped and blueprinted back in early 2008, still retaining the factory twin scroll turbo and intercooler and using a 2.5” OEM dump and catalytic converter, all as per the rules. The gearbox contains the ever reliable PPG 1-5 Dog gear set, coupled by an ACS Extreme Heavy Duty 6MT Clutch. Diffs are all factory STI, the rear just having had a freshen up as part of the pre-race maintenance this time round.
We have 2 ECU choices in this vehicle, the aftermarket elaborate unit that the car was originally fitted with when it was built for Cody Crocker, it has Anti-lag, rotating idle and all of the goodies. Or the EcuTek tuned factory ECU that uses the airflow sensor and knock correction as it was designed by Subaru, but with EcuTek’s intervention has complete tune-ability, and incorporates water-spray, launch-control and map switching features. The choice was actually made by Steve 2 years ago when we completed a “Test and Tune” session on both ECUs after the engine freshen up. With APE’s state of the art dyno cell and our experience, there are no limitations in tuning either product. So with it all out on the table, the extra 40nm torque and an average of 8kw right through the range, plus the promise of reliability, the EcuTek won hands down. Steve with co-driver Bernie Webb, went on to win the Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally a few weeks later, and has relied upon EcuTek as an important team player ever since. This time round we were able to tune the car with ELF Turbo-EVO race fuel, which with careful re-mapping gave us an extra 20kw peak and a handful more torque, see the dyno graph!
Competition was certainly strong amongst the Rally Tasmania field, with 4 highly tuned Nissan R35-GTRs, a handful of EVOs, numerous other STIs, including Brendan Reeves in his 2007 Tarmac Spec-C STI, not to mention Jim Richards in his GT-2 Porsche. Steve and Alan completed Day 1, which comprised of 2 timed stages, comfortably in third place. There was an issue with the cars DCCD controller right from early on in the rally, it looked like a problem that the team was unlikely to rectify. It was up to Steve to drive around this, which he did all day Saturday making his way up to second place and just starting to reel-in Jim Richards. Jim retired by the second stage on the third day with steering issues, so it was now up to Steve to hold off the young gun Brendan till the end, which he managed, but as he said to me Sunday night after the rally “Brendo certainly kept me honest, he was always there, pushing so hard and so consistent on stage times, there was no opportunity to ease off”.
From the S&J perspective on this event and result, I have to say that we are very proud to be part of such a high end race team and are glad to be using and testing a great deal of the products that we supply and fit to clients cars on a daily basis.
Congratulations Brendan, Rhianon and all other finishing competitors.
Thanks to S.A. Motorsport Tyres, EcuTek, MRT Performance, PPG (Pfitzner Performance Gearbox) and ACS (Australian Clutch Services).