Maxxis and Honda Performance Development [HPD] took on the sixth round of the American Rally Association [ARA] National Championship in the Idaho Rally International with their 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport.
With the Limited 2WD championship nearly clinched, HPD/Maxxis Rally continued the hunt by attending the Idaho Rally for the first time. Jordan Guitar, driver of the Honda Civic, would return yet again, and bring with him veteran co-driver Brian Penza. “We couldn’t be happier to attend Rally Idaho,” said Jordan. “After seeing the roads during reconnaissance, we are excited to see what the Civic can do here!”
Idaho Rally consists mostly of very tight, highly technical stages that keep teams on their toes. Day One consisted of six stages, starting and ending with the one wide and fast Harris Creek stage, and including the tighter and more challenging Grimes Pass and Spanish Fork stages in the middle. The narrow, loose, and silt-covered roads would challenge the teams to stay in tune with their co-drivers, and not miss a beat.
The Maxxis/HPD team hit the stages with its usual quick but conservative pace. The momentum was quickly interrupted though, as Stage 2 was red-crossed due to a brush fire that had to be extinguished. The team pushed through to the tighter Spanish Fork stage. Although the team thought it would struggle a bit with the silty surface, the torque of the Civic’s 1.5L Turbo engine, combined with the grip of the Maxxis R19 tire, really hooked up and propelled the team to the second-fastest 2WD time during the stage.
With the delays, the teams would get a quick service, then head out to Stage 6, skipping Stages 4 and 5 in order to get the event back on schedule. “Although the schedule was a little bit out of the norm, we really enjoyed the stages today,” stated Jordan at the finish, “The Civic was fun to drive on these stages, so we are really looking forward to running them again tomorrow.”
Day Two would consist of another six stages, and running Grimes Pass and Spanish Fork again, with the addition of the challenging Meadow Creek stage. “Yesterday we were surprised at just how well the Civic did on the tight and technical stages,” stated Jordan prior to the start. “We are hoping to pull out a little bit more speed today and show how competitive this platform can be, although our main goal is keep it tidy and make it to the finish!”
Returning to the stages, the team pushed through the narrow and silt-covered roads, all the time developing deeper and wider ruts and bumps as the field of rally cars abused the course surface. After the first leg of stages, the Civic team was consistently the third-fastest 2WD car. A momentary lapse in concentration on the last stage of this leg saw the Civic narrowly avoid an “off” that could have caused some serious damage.
“Meadow Creek has some very tricky sections,” described Jordan at the service. “The road looked like it went straight, so that was how I was setting up my line. As we approached a crest, what actually waited ahead was a blind left over this rise. Luckily, I have a great co-driver, who quickly [and loudly] reminded me where the corner was! After some minor contact with a bush and some new tire marks in the center berm, we were able to finish out the stage with just a few scuffs on the underbody.”
By the end of the event, the Maxxis/HPD team would finish first in the Limited 2WD class, and added to the points from the previous events, officially secure first place in the 2018 Limited 2WD National ARA championship. The team was also able to show its competitiveness against Open Class cars, as it would have finished in third place by time. “We couldn’t be happier with how this weekend turned out,” stated Penza at the finish, “This rally really presented some challenging stages for us. It took all of our concentration, but the Civic performed beautifully, the Maxxis R19 tires once again provided us with tremendous grip and feedback, and I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up the Limited 2WD class championship! We want to say a huge thanks to Maxxis, HPD, and all of our sponsors for their continued support, as well as our wonderful crew for helping keep this car in tip-top condition.”
Look for the Maxxis/HPD Honda Civic in 2019 as it attempts to build on this year’s successes and step up to the Open Class with some new enhancements to the rally Civic platform!