Post qualification staging.

Day 0 is the beginning of the official Panam event. Some teams spend the morning trying to rush through the last few hours of tech, we killed time waiting for the qualification stage.

This year had a slight twist- there were two stages for Day 0. We ran a “warm up” that counted towards nothing but seat time, followed by the classification stage. Both are optional and have no bearing on the event beyond Day 1 seeding.

We took it as an opportunity to shake out team communication and a primer for what to expect from the notes. The trouble with two drivers swapping throughout the week is we’d only get a chance for one to run the day.

Buddy, despite having a very deep and qualified resume, is new to rally and took today to get his bearings. I have to admit that I was a little concerned with a very accomplished track driver getting his first taste of stage rally- a lot of drivers come over with a headstrong cockiness that can find a lot of trouble in very short order. My qualms were unwarranted- he was cautious on the warm up and got a taste for notes before opening it up on the classification stage.

We seemed to click well in the car and he clearly has a lot of talent behind the wheel, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next week has to offer.

Don, unfortunately due to the nature of the shakedown, didn’t get any seat time with me beyond transiting through Queretaro. Don’s resume doesn’t go back as far as Buddy’s, but it’s impressive in its own right and has the right endurance history for Panam.

Outside of our car the few teams I spoke with seem to be ready as well, treating the day as the pre event warm up that it’s meant to be. However, a few teams did manage to have mechanical DNF’s on the morning loop, and one managed to stuff a Porsche 356 hard into the second corner of the warm up, not even the classification. How that happens, I do not know, but hopefully they take it as a lesson that not only do you have to first finish to finish first, but you really need to actually start an event in the to event manage attempting to finish.

Classics in a field, by the end of the week this pack will thin substantially.