Freeskiing adrenaline junkies get their fix of speed with rally cross. During the off-season big names, such as Peter Olenick and Simon Dumont, plan on racing rally cars competitively. Simon attended a rally school a couple years back and has always had a passion for going fast. This past April he got to drive a fully kitted out Jetta in the Volkswagen TDI Cup. Simon placed 19th in his first professional race. This is hopefully the beginning of Simonâ€™s rally career. He plans to join the rally circuit within the next year and eventually land a spot in the Summer X Games.
Peter Olenick decided he wanted a car to teach him the basics of rally. He immediately made a horrible impulse purchase, a â€˜98 Dodge Neon. This car quickly became known as the Blue Angel and was redecorated with neon green and pink spray paint. The florescent pink racing stripes only lasted so long, because the blue angel met an early demise on its first day off road.
Peter realized if he wanted to get serious about rally he needed a serious rally car. He drove to San Diego last month and came home with a 2002 Subaru WRX, fully equipped with a roll cage and racing seats. It has had an engine transplant and now has the engine of an STI. Peter was able to get some driving lessons and has been taking his car to the CORE rally track, just east of Denver. He has already signed up for a rally race in Steamboat CO, September 17-20.
So who will be the next industry player to get into rally racing? It just so happens that Freeskier Editor, Matt Harvey, has been looking into purchasing a rally car. He has gone and looked at some vehicles, but is waiting for the perfect car to appear on Craigslist. So next time you’re stuck in weekend traffic to the mountains, be sure to take the back roads. You might run into one of these guys.
Freeskier: Why did you decide to get into rally?
Peter Olenick: â€˜Cause itâ€™s fun, and I mostly wanted to learn how to drive like that.
FS: So you have your first rally race coming up in Steamboat?
PO: That is correct, it is the COG rally 150-mile stage rally over two days.
FS: Are you feeling ready?
PO: No, not even close but as long as the car holds up and we donâ€™t crash bad I will be stoked. Itâ€™s a big learning experience.
FS: What is your goal for rallying?
PO: My goal is to not crash, and to actually learn how to get faster. And not get last.
Pete behind the wheel of his new rally car. Photo: Harvey