WALTON, NY – Rookie driver Erika Detota has just enjoyed a successful weekend at the United States Rally Championship (USRC) tarmac event. The Rally New York stages challenged Erika and co-driver Jason Smith. Fast technical roads, unseasonably low spring temperatures, snow showers, sleet, and rain complicated conditions throughout the event. Despite these hurdles, the pair managed to achieve another podium finish, placing 3rd in class, which elevates them to 1st place overall in the USRC 2WD standings.
In her debut season as a competition driver, Erika has proven herself with the help of her navigator Jason Smith. “As a new driver I feel more confident having J. navigating for me. If I need advice about driving, interpreting conditions, or just analyzing where I can progress he is right there with me. My stage times improved vastly throughout the weekend which is the most exciting part for me” Erika says.
“It’s great to be part of Erika’s development as a driver and to see the improvements come so quickly. I can give feedback or direction and I immediately see the results” says Smith. When the team started driving together last October, roles were reversed. Erika handled navigation for Jason when his usual co-driver Jared Lantzy was not available. Jason and Jared most recently placed an impressive 3rd overall in February’s Sandblast Rally 2010 in a normally aspirated Subaru Impreza.
The experience of varying surface conditions, both tarmac and ice, from the past two USRC events have given the team growing confidence going into the upcoming gravel events on the calendar. Erika’s training began on gravel at the Team O’Neil Rally School, where she learned the fundamentals of rally driving. School owner and accomplished driver Tim O’Neil says of Erika, “It’s great to see a young woman getting into the sport and doing so well”
The team plans to contest the final round of the Rally New York series, which will lead to a run for the USRC 2WD National title in Prescott, AZ this October. Erika is also planning on contesting the Team O’Neil Rally in May and Rally America, New England Forest Rally in July.
Erika and Jason want to thank: Broken Motorsports, Team O‘Neil Rally School & Car Control Center, Rally Armor, Gimmick Motorsports, T.Hanson Motorsports, Robert Cella, Big Boulder Park and Keep A Breast for support, time, products and advice. Another thanks goes out to their friends, families and fans!
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