Saab Festival Update #2

The best laid plans…….

Yes, that’s the SUHRT Car #1 on a trailer. And yes, it appears to be terminal. The first news I received about this was in a video that I posted to the SUHRT website. There was an oil pressure problem and at that stage, with the car stuck on the side of the road, we were all hoping that the car would come in for repairs overnight and get underway again in the morning.

Apparently it’s a bigger issue than first throught, with the engine seized. The only hope is a possible engine transplant, with a donor engine from a friend of the team, although this would only be in order to finish the event, not in an attempt to be overly competitive.

The heartbreak of motorsport…..

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The good news is that the #2 car got through the first day, though not without incident.

Vladimir Antonov’s car was running hot for most of the day (a problem with a switch) and at one point, the car emptied itself of coolant. Fortunately, the guys managed to pull up near a swimming pool – I’m not kidding – they refilled the cooling system and made it back to Trollhattan.

I haven’t seen the standings for myself, but apparently they’re sitting in a good position.

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Last time I came to a Saab Festival, there were a number of moments when our Festival posse (for want of a better name) would just look at each other and say “Yeah, it’s just another day in Sweden”. These tended to be moments that could only happen at a Saab Festival.

Things like a Sonett II pulling up next to you in a parking space, for instance.

Another one of those moments happened this evening. We got back to our hotel after dinner (pizza at Mamma Mia) and there in the lobby, still dressed in his racing gear, was none other than Stig Blomqvist himself.

It’s just another day in Sweden.

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It’s amazing the amount of emerging technology around here.

I wrote yesterday about the Cargine system and how it’s basically production-ready and Cargine are in talks with several companies about implementing the system.

Tonight, I met a guy by the name of Magnus Roland. He’s one of the guys who developed the suspension system for the Saab 9000 all those years ago. He’s done stints with various companies since, but spent most of his career at Saab/GM.

Anyway, Magnus has been working on an all new and rather revolutionary 5-link suspension system. Apparently they took it Germany recently and tested it in an Audi A4 with very, very good results.

The initial path for this technology in the near term could well be in some very high-level racing formulas (I won’t state which, but they’re about as big as it gets) and then possibly, mass production vehicles.

You can read more about his company, S2AB, at their corporate website.

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Around half an hour ago outside the hotel…..

The Spyker, of course, is travelling with Vladimir Antonov. The Saab 9-5 was being driven by Saab tech guru, Mats Fagerhag, who just happened to be picking up his wife when I tapped on his window for a chat. He’s flat out working on the new 9-3 now and promises me it’s going to be very, very good.

Antonov is now working on a good night’s sleep in preparation for day 2 of the Midnight Sun rally. He was really happy about today’s run, only running into real difficulty on stage 1 as the whole experience – including driving a 99T – was completely new to him. He managed to get great results in the rest of the stages completed today.

And about that Spyker LM85….. one of Antonov’s mates, Oleg, just started it up and the noise is absolutely phenomenal πŸ™‚

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I think it’s fair to say that the Festival got off to a slow-ish start today, but then that’s similar to 2007. More people come in as the weekend gets closer, especially with the spare parts sale starting tomorrow.

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Here are a few more of the cars that completed day 1 of the Midnight Sun rally today….

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