With the team feeling better about Saturday’s successes, rolling into Sunday with less apprehension and the level excitement seen on everyone’s faces. Though the crew knew that lurking above was the harbinger of doom: will the brakes last another day of racing?
Trailing just a few minutes behind Fricke and his Rally Team of Dreams and a few minutes ahead of Mexican American Guillermo Sánchez and his Mitsubishi Lancer. Yet failing to complete a stage because of accident, mechanical failure, or getting lost on the complex maze or roads that wind through León and the surrounding mountains would mean not finishing WRC Rally Mexico.
Darkcyd Racing Team technicians (as they’re called in WRC lingo) would have fifteen minutes to inspect, clean and lubricate brake rotors and pads. No further problems with the power steering and alternator belt, though the mud, dirt and dust of the harsh terrain meant the windows of Darkcyd’s venerable Subaru would need a cleaning. At least they’d be clean for 10 minutes.
Robb and Ben contained their excitement, with Ben falling into classic co-driver mode: time is everything and focus is key. But the hordes of fans pushing past the yellow border tape were hard to resist. Though the hard work and challenges of the last three days had taken its toll on the crew. This is a long rally and it tests (and taxes) the endurance of everyone.
Our guide and former rally team manager José Fredo cheers on Petter Solberg as he cranks around a tight turn at Comanjilla on Sunday at WRC Rally Mexico.
To make sure I could get good position for photos and viewing, and with the advice of José Fredo, decided to head directly to the second stage of the day: Comanjilla. The Comanjilla stage is about 18km and extremely difficult with a steep uphill start, through a series of hairpins until breaking into an open flowing road. But this doesn’t last long as it turns twisty while adding the challenge of deep drainage channels through the road and a series of jumps. The first state of the day, one of the longest of the rally, was cancelled due to safety conditions before Darkcyd’s Rill and Slocum could start.
This meant that Darkcyd needed to not only complete the Comanjilla stage, it would try to make time to maintain its second place position among the Rally America class of vehicles still in the race.
Nassar Al-Attiyah would later learn that a minor technicality would cost him from qualifying his score for this race
Pedestrian risk is high as these high-speed rally cars spew dust and big rocks.
Rill and Slocum pilot the Darkcyd Racing Team Subaru through the gnarly and tough Comanjilla stage effortlessly and take the team to it’s first Mexican rally finish—and in second place!
There’s nothing like crossing the finish line.
While the sun beat down, and several more WRC drivers falling victim to the treacherous conditions of Rally Mexico, Team Darkcyd cruised through the final stages successfully while gaining valuable time and ultimately finishing second—a trophyposition on the WRC Rally Mexico podium. As one of only six cars out of more than 30 competitors to claim this position, Mexico finally belonged to Robb Rill, Ben Slocum and the entire Darkcyd Racing Team.
Before they could retried their trophies, Rill and Slocum had to weave the Darkcyd Subaru around the Poliforum and Explora park to the podium where thousands of fans cheered, begged for autographs and jockeyed to get a photograph with the winners. the team grabbed team boss and his Robb’s wife and set her on the back of the car as the WRC Rally Mexico Turntable spun the car around and ultimately launched it into another crowd of frenzied fans just hoping to see the winning Rally Mexico teams.
Darkcyd driver, Robb Rill, signs the shoulder of a rally fan before marching to the winner’s circle.
On the podium the entire Darkcyd Racing Team basks in the glory of its 2nd place win at WRC Rally Mexico 2011.
At the trophy presentation in the Poliforum, nothing can hold back the happiness and smiles of driver and co-driver.
Team boss is happy to see that Robb not only finished a mexican rally, but this time they take home an impressive second place trophy!
Victory splash as lead technician Ken Anctin and driver Robb Rill pour the chilling water from the team water cooler over co-driver Ben Slocum.
The 2nd Place Winning Darkcyd Racing Team, (clockwise from top left) Ben Slocum, co-driver; Robb Rill, driver; Ed Stockline, technician, Kenny Thorstenson, technician; Tara Rill, team Boss; Gary Grahn, technician; Ken Actin, lead technician.
Inside the Poliforum the lucky fans with tickets who not only could hover around the pits of the pros and the Rally America teams, but could get front row access to the trophy presentation where Robb thanked the Mexican fans and tipped his hat in accolades to the technicians and team that helped him achieve his dream: a win in Mexico.
That evening after a long awaited victory dinner at one of León’s best restaurants, Me Come No, the team headed to the closing party where many of the pros, now freed from the intense pressure of high-speed racing, could let loose and relax. We met several drivers and lead technicians including Petter Solberg and his co-driver.
The victory dinner wasn’t just for Darkcyd Racing Team, the tenacious Recon Rally as well as first place winners Rally Team for Dreams joined the celebration as Rally America teams completed aggressively against the top-notch pros of WRC.
Tara posing with WRC finishing team Petter Solberg (r) and Chris Patterson at the WRC Rally Mexico finale party!
Robb, Tara and the team couldn’t hide their excitement and joy from finally finishing—second place—at one of the toughest rallies in the WRC schedule. I am just happy to be a part of it. I must admit, I’m now addicted. Don’t be suprised if you’ll be reading more about rally racing here on worldrider.com.