Report: Saabs at the 2010 RAC Rally

The following report has come through from the guys in the Saab Historic Rally Team, who participated in the 2010 Roger Albert Clark Rally on the weekend.

My thanks to Steve W for passing it on and congratulations to the rally team!

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Saab Historic Rally Team
Roger Albert Clark Rally 26 to 29 November, 2010

  • Event a great success
  • 1000 miles
  • 22 Stages
  • -17C lowest temperature
  • 12 inches the deepest snow on a stage
  • 64 entrants in the main rally event
  • 43 finishers
  • 9 hours sleep in four days

Nick Pinkett/Mark Casey
Second Historic Winners Class B1

They holed a piston on Saturday evening. The spare engine was fitted in the dark, in one hour thirty seven minutes, at the roadside, without a hoist or power tools, so that they could rejoin the rally. Nick’s result is particularly impressive as his car had no limited slip differential, which makes driving in snow virtually impossible, a heroic effort.

Jim Valentine/Andy Harris
Third Historic Second Class B1

Though fast on some of the stages, punctures, ignition and fueling problems in the extreme conditions hampered their rally with the car only running properly on the fourth day. Despite the problems they finished second Historic but ended a run of three previous class wins.

Colin Hope/Nick Patrick
Fourth in Class C3 31st Overall

Their result doesn’t tell the whole story. They started 59th overall and made up 28 positions despite having problems with the head gasket and cooling from Saturday night. Nonetheless, on Stages 12 and 13, in the Forest of Ae in Scotland they set really fast times in the top 30. That is some drive on a surface you couldn’t walk on, it’s hard to believe that his team finished building the car on the Friday of the event and this was the first time Colin has driven a Saab in anger.

Richard Simpson/Debby Myer
Retired Stage 21

Richard was challenging for the lead of the Historic category from day one of the event. As the other leaders retired or fell behind, Richard started stage 21 with a ten minute lead over his nearest rival. On Monday morning a win in the Historics seemed within the team’s grasp, all Richard had to do was complete the last two stages at half speed to secure the position. The team put their efforts into supporting him trying to plan for various possible scenarios, with limited servicing opportunities between the last two stages, the B1 competitors would double up as “on stage” service vehicles to try and ensure Richard the win: Nick took on spares and Jim carried an extra spare wheel for Richard’s car. Cruelly Richard’s car lost the clutch on the start of stage 21 and that victory slipped away.

Magic/Craig Wallace
Retired Stage 17

Magic’s rally ended when they holed the gearbox casing on stage 17. Poor Magic, two weeks before the rally the car was still a shell, and despite holding down his day job he managed to completely build the car back up and get it on the start line for the event (the team pretty much took the last spanner off the car as it went into the noise test for scrutineering on Friday). His late entry meant he started last in the rally, but the weather conditions dealt him the cruelest blow. As the last car on the competitive stages any car in the rally that went off or blocked the stage would hold him up. Sure enough he was baulked on the first six stages, and to add insult to injury since the stages are so narrow, having unstuck the car in front it would take off and, despite rescuing it, he would have to be stuck behind it for the rest of the stage. Where he could find some “clean air” the former works car was quick on the stages, but sadly a gearbox failure late on brought what must have been a frustrating event to a close.

An update from the Saabs United Historic Rally Team

Thumbnail image for Saabs United Historic Rally TeamThings are really starting to take shape with our competition car.
Now that it’s had its paint stripped, it’s ready for the next stages of construction. That’s included some re-fabrication in areas and the delivery of some new bits and pieces.
Here’s the break down:

  • We’re just about to take delivery of some fibreglass fender extensions thanks to the guys at RP Glasfiber. They run a workshop in northern Sweden where they make a whole heap of reproduction panels and pieces in fibreglass, many of them replicas of Saab factory items or the original Saab Sport and Rally catalog items.
  • We’ve fabricated an exhaust tunnel though the area where the spare tyre normally sits in order to allow adequate space for our new exhaust system when it comes.
  • The car has now been completely stripped of paint, is ready for its roll cage and will shortly go in for a paint job, being finished in black truck paint (tougher and cheaper!)
  • We managed to get hold of a whole swag of images from Tekniken’s Varld, showing the original 1978 competition car that we’re basing our build on. These have been invaluable in nailing some of the finer details of that car.
  • And finally, just yesterday, Jörgen took delivery of a groovy little toy – a genuine 1978 Coralba rally tripmeter, which will be fitted inside to aid Bo’s navigation.

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Check out all the updates at the Saabs United Historic Rally Team website. The excitement is building slowly as we aim to get the car finished in time to run it and iron out the bugs before the Midnight Sun Rally in mid-2010.
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An update from the Saabs United Historic Rally Team

Did you know that Saabs United is sponsoring the build and the running of a historic Saab race car? This effort is being chronicled over at the Saabs United Historic Rally Team website.
Thumbnail image for Saabs United Historic Rally TeamWork continues on the preparation of our Stig Blomqvist replica Saab 99 Turbo for the 2010 Midnight Sun Rally in Sweden.
Since the last update was posted here at Saabs United, the car has been totally stripped down and has undergone a fascinating process called Dry Ice Blasting. It completely removes all of the paint leaving you with a totally clean body to work your graphical magic on.
You can view the ‘before’ videos here and the all important ‘after’ video here. The car is now ready to have it’s roll cage installed and Jorgen called in on the guys who’ll be doing that work last week.
Jorgen also attended a huge Saab swap meet and picked up some much-needed and hard-to-find parts for the car (we have a huge parts list that needs to be filled).
And finally, I had the good fortune to call in at 99T headquarters and meet Jorgen personally during my brief trip to Sweden a few weeks ago. The competition car was away getting blasted, but it was good to see where it all happens. There’s nothing like a little person-to-person face time to get your perspective right.
You could follow all of those links individually, or you could just click through and see all those entries on the Saabs United Historic Rally Team website (It’s a site layout and a project that I’m quite proud of, actually)
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It seems we’ve selected the right car at the right time and there might be several 99Turbos competing in next year’s Midnattssolsrallyt. the dominant car of the era was actually the Audi Quattro, but the early Quattros had a poor fuel injection system that didn’t allow them to be really competitive until later on, when the system was modified. As last year’s (disqualified) winner knows, you can’t run a newer injection system on an older car.
So 99T’s will be very competitive for the next couple of years. How competitive? Well, we’ve got a pretty good idea that the man we’re modelling our car after is actually in the process of building one himself – yes, Stig Blomqvist.
(The) Stig’s been racing Ford Escorts for some time now, but we’ve got it under pretty good authority that he’s taking a step back in time and reuniting with a 99T just like the one he ran back in 1978.
No wonder he wished us luck in finding parts for ours – he’s probably had the parts locked up for some time 🙂

Sunday morning snippets – winding road edition

It’s the weekend and things are slowing down a little on the SU Sweden Tour 2009.
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I’ve been joined here in Sweden by Dave R, who knows this area like the back of his hand and has graciously acted as host and guide around the area.
Yesterday we headed north for a drive and apart from the scenery and some great strawberry waffles, the highlight of the drive was a road called Brudfjallsvagen (forgive the lack of umlauts but I haven’t figured those out on this new computer just yet).
This is an 11km stretch of undulating, winding road that’s just so much fun you want to drive it again and again.
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The road runs between Tisselkog and Haverud and it well worth searching for if you’re over this way.
Here’s a video of the drive shot from a motorbike. You don’t get the full rise and fall of the road, but it’ll give you an idea.
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The SU Trollhattan meetup was on last night and whilst we were few in number we were many in spirit. Dave and I were joined by Mats (a local) and Rune made a huge effort in travelling all the way from Oslo with his wife Anna.
It was great to see Mats again (he gave me my first tour around Thn back in 2007) and fantastic to meet Rune and Mrs Rune for the first time. We had a drop-in visit from a young guy named Hampus (forgive me if I’m wrong), but he was too young to be allowed to stay in the pub.
Thanks to all for another great evening!
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Just a small part of the fleet of 9-5 test mules in Trollhattan. A post about that experience will come later.
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I’ve got enough content backed up to last a month, but there’s even more still to come on the SU Sweden Tour 2009.
This afternoon we’ll take the 9-3x out for a good thrashing 🙂
Tomorrow I jump in a rental car and head for Orebro, which is where Maptun have their facility. I’ll meet up with Fredrik and the rest of the team there and have a look around before heading off to Stockholm.
In Stockholm I’m hoping to meet up with Jorgen from the SU Historic Rally Team as well as some guys from Auto Motor and Sport.
That’s Monday and Tuesday morning taken care of. Tuesday afternoon will see me jump on a plane again for the long ride home to meet my wife’s loving arms and my dog’s loving wet nose.

An update from the Saabs United Historic Rally Team

Thumbnail image for Saabs United Historic Rally TeamTime marches on and so does the work preparing our Saab 99 for the Rally to the Midnight Sun in 2010.
For those of you who don’t know about it, Eggs and I have teamed up with some Swedes (Jörgen and Bo) to rebuild a Saab 99 Turbo and run it in next year’s historic Swedish Rally – the Rally to the Midnight Sun.
We’ve purchased three cars so far and the best shell of the three is currently being stripped down and made ready for its re-birth as a replica of Stig Blomqvist’s Saab 99Turbo from the RAC Lombard Rally in 1978.
The main page for the rally team is here: Saabs United Historic Rally Team.
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The most recent instalments in the journey are as follows:
A visit to the Saab museum to look over the original Saab 99T from the 1977 Frankfurt Motor Show as well as another Blomqvist replica.
The arrival of our competition roll cage.
Jörgen visits a massive Saab swap meet in Gistad and picks up some mint condition parts for our rally car.
Our car gets frozen! We send the 99 shell in for dry ice blasting, which is an incredible process that I’d never heard of before.
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It’s all happening and I can’t wait to get over to Sweden and see the car for myself in the next couple of weeks!
Please do check out the progress and if you feel so inclined, subscribe to the RSS feed as well. We’re updating the site regularly with new information about the progress with the car and it really is going to build up to an exciting event.

Quick thoughts at bedtime – iPhone and Saab Museum

It’s late and there’s so much going on, but I just wanted to drop a few quic thoughts and links.
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I posted a question last night asking what you’d like to see in an iPhone app for Saab. There were a lot of great comments, though many of them were about Apple software, bluetooth and compatability issues, rather than suggestions for the actual functionality that an iPhone application could provide for Saab owners.
So I got to thinking about it. What would I want from Saab if I had an iPhone? What sort of functionality could it provide that I’d find interesting and useful?
Being a blogger, I’m an information guy. I always love to have information at my fingertips and one of the kicks I get is providing information through the writings here at SU.
For me, it’d be cool to have what would basically amount to a portable electronic owners manual in my phone.
You enter your VIN, or model and year, and the app can provide you with all sorts of handy info. Wheel and tyre sizes, air pressures, lubricant grades; all sorts of handy facts and figures about various model Saabs. How to program the profiler options for your car, for example.
You could have different apps for different models or one big app with all the info and the user selects their model.
It’d be very Saab-nerdy, but it’d also be quite handy for solving arguments over details at the bar after your local Saab Club outing.
Some of the MINI app functionality (see link, above) with regard to roadside assistance would no doubt be handy as well. Perhaps a list of recommended repairers for those who are travelling?
I’m just thinking out loud here. I don’t have an iPhone, but if I did, then that sort of app is something I’d pay my $5 or $15 for (I don’t even know how much these apps sell for).
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On completely unrelated matters……
Thumbnail image for Saabs United Historic Rally TeamI’ve just posted a bunch of new videos over at the Saabs United Historic Rally Team website.
Jörgen paid a visit to Trollhattan last weekend, visiting the museum and paying special attention to the Saab 99Turbos there.
There’s a great story I didn’t know about the original 1977 show car from Frankfurt, as well as a good look at the cutaway 99T engine they have on display there.
Work continues on our competition car, too. Painstaking work, actually.

7 days with the Saabs United Historic Rally Team

Saabs United Historic Rally Team I hope you’ve been checking in on the efforts of the Saabs United Historic Rally Team. You can check the website directly or load the RSS feed into your feed reader.
There hasn’t actually been 7 days with the team as far as the website’s concerned yet as the site was launched only 6 days ago. Nevertheless, I’ll be taking the opportunity to summarise events each week here to keep everyone up to speed.
So – the first week for the Saabs United Historic Rally Team……
Jörgen had a chat with retired Saab designer, Björn Envall, about the paint schemes of the Saaab rally teams in the 1970s.
We bought three car(casses) to build our competition vehicle(s) – Car 1, Car 2 and Car 3.
Of course, we also had the official launch of the SUHRT website!
Whilst picking up Car #3 in Obrero, Jörgen and Bo called in on 2009 Midnight Sun Rally winner and Saab legend, Stig Blomqvist.
We also welcomed Saab tuning company Maptun as sponsors and partners in the team.
Jörgen and Bo got busy on Car #1, removing the engine from the vehicle on the hottest day of the year.
They then turned their attention to the cleanest car of the lot, Car #3, and dismantled that one, too.
To blow off some steam after all this work, Jörgen took his Turbo X to Mantorp Park and a track day hosted by the Saab Turbo Club of Sweden – some great video there.
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I’m not sure that next week will be as busy, but it’s sure off to a great start.
Remember, if you’re part of a company that could support this fun and significant tilt at the Midnight Sun rally in 2010, please contact us.
For now, we’d like to thank our current sponsors:

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