Posted On: January 17, 2011 - By admin
Subaru to RWD

I had the opportunity to meet up with the Map Rally Team at the last RallyCar event at New Jersey Motorsports Park in November. I knew before the event that the team and their young star Mark Piatkowski was going on new venture by converting their awd WRX into a rwd car. Mark really didn’t have a chance to get an event under his belt with the new setup before the last race so everything was new to him during the day. In the first heat Mark took first place and things were looking great for the day, but as the day progressed the lack of power of the WRX 2.5 RS became an issue. Overall Mark and team had a great day, a new experience with their car and some thing to build on for the 2011 season. I will meet with the team again soon to go over the 2011 season and changes being made to the car. Let’s get to meet the 21 year old Mark ( Happy Birthday by the way ) and see what makes him drive rally.

With all the young guys these days wanting to be drifters; what made you want to be a rally driver?

Rallying is something I have always wanted to do, and I can wholeheartedly say that it is my passion. My dad was a rally driver overseas in his native country Poland (where the sport of rallying is very popular), and once he moved to the US he rallied for a couple of years here as well. So I guess you can say rallying is in my blood. I find myself being very fortunate that I was brought up with a rally mindset, because I truly believe that rally is a very exciting and unique sport that is still undiscovered here stateside. All it needs here in the US is a dedicated media program to outreach to the public, and I believe that rallying will follow in Drifting’s footsteps

What did you find the hardest part of making the Subie RWD?

To be honest, the process of converting a  is not all that difficult. In essence, you take the center differential out of the car (which is accessible without dropping the transmission), gut the center diff’s plates and gears, and weld the entire case so it spins as a whole. Put it back in, and voila! However, I think the hardest part of the conversion is the unknown factor. In this I mean not knowing how everything is going to hold up to racing abuse. Because essentially a Subaru is designed from the ground up as a AWD car- AWD suspension geometry, AWD drivetrain layout, AWD components, etc. So going into the event as a RWD Subaru 2010, we did not know how everything was going to handle and hold up with all its power going to just the rear wheels.

Do you like running RWD over AWD?

I love RWD- its a complete blast! There is nothing like going sideways. It took me back to my highschool days, where we all would drift friends Miata’s and other RWD cars until the tires sparked from the threads. We would do that on a daily basis. With that being said, AWD is faster no matter how you put it. Having those extra two front wheels spinning yields more traction, and enables you to take corners faster without worrying about spinning tires.

With this being your first year running rally , what event did you enjoy the most?
Picking a favorite event is a bit like selecting your favorite child. Both have their pluses and minuses, but at the end of the day you cannot choose a clear cut favorite. STPR and NEFR 2010 were obviously stage rallies, and the goal for them is to get used to the rally notes, drive clean, and get to the finish. I managed to do just that, and finish in 1st place on both occasions without a relative scratch on the car. Rallycross is quite different in nature, since youre driving the same ~45sec track several times over the course of the weekend with cars side by side. Both are exhilarating, both a fun, but both offer two completely different weekends. With that being said, I still have a passion for stage rallying, but I will by no means discount the opportunity of a Rallycross if my wallet is elastic enough

What have you improved on the most about your driving skills from your first event till the last event at NJMP you raced?

Driving an AWD car in stage rally and driving a RWD car in Rallycross is very different, and I had to completely relearn the car for this weekends Rallycross. But one main thing that I did this weekend as opposed to others, is that I took the car to its absolute limit. I could not go any faster with the equipment that I had. I couldn’t and didn’t want to do this at the STPR and NEFR rallys, because there are a lot of elements and things to learn, that going 100% on your first stage rally wasn’t of my best interest with my financial situation.

What are your goals for the 2011 season for the team and yourself.

For 2011, I want to continue to progress in speed at stage rallys, because I know for a fact that I can go faster. Now that I gained confidence and I’m more familiar with rally stage notes from 2010, I cannot wait to do my next event. I think as time, media coverage, and my confidence progresses, I can rise to the top and excel at this sport if I play my cards correctly. Hopefully I can land some sponsorship deal in the future, so I can be given the opportunity to do more events, and not worry about every $100 dollars that is in my bank account. I just need to thank my crew, sponsors, and supporters who are just as passionate at seeing me succeed, as I am at this unique sport of rally.

~Mark Piatkowski

MAP Rally

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