Believe it or not, Taiwan was actually the first country in Asia to host a rally championship. However, due to the tight restrictions surrounding any form of motorsport in Taiwan, it has developed very slowly over that last 12 years and has been somewhat overtaken by rally championships in other Asian countries unfortunately. Although the TRCC (Taiwan Rally Car Championship) still has a strong following of hardcore rally enthusiasts.

We had a fantastic time on the first stage of the 2013 championship which took place in the small indigenous village of DaWu, Taidong County. The sense of community we felt over the weekend was great, and everybody who took part was willing and ready to help out an any way they could, no matter which team they raced for. There were around 20 race teams that took part in this round, and around 80 cars in total, about half of which were highly modified Honda Civic rally cars. There are several reasons for that, the one being that the tarmac mountain roads that make up almost all rounds of the championship are very narrow, and contain a lot of tight hairpin turns, perfectly suited to small hatchbacks such as the Civic. As you would expect, there was also a fair share of Subaru Impreza's and Mitsubishi Evo's which are more competitive on the high-speed stages.

Now onto the actual racing. We ran a similar setup to that mentioned on our last blog from Penbay International circuit; Front 330x32mm medium 6-pot, rear 330x28mm 4-pot, 700c PB race pads,  and PB street coilovers.

The ride height was set to stock level and we kept the 8kg front 6kg rear springs, but this time we turned the damping right down to 15 clicks front and 12 clicks rear. As it's a tarmac rally rather than gravel, there's no need to raise the ride height or change to soft springs, but at the same time you don't want for a rock-solid track setup because the mountain roads can be quite bumpy in places. Taking all of that into account, we guesstimated what setup to go for and I think it worked out quite well in the end.


In terms of power, we were still at 280whp because we're waiting on a few parts from the USA until we can continue to squeeze more power out of the EJ20 engine. We should be at 320whp by the next round starting 29th June. The brakes and coilovers were fantastic all weekend, and we didn't have any issues with them at all. The 2nd half of the 13km stage is all downhill hairpin turns, where high-performance brakes are essential. If you don't slow down quickly enough you're off the end of the corner, and down the side of the mountain to a 100m drop! Thankfully the PB's were more than up to the task.

The only braking issue we had was brake fluid. We normally use Endless RF-650, but we opted to try out a different brand this time around, and unfortunately it wasn't that great. After about 4km of the 13km stage the fluid started of over-heat and we experienced a spongy pedal. However, the braking force was stilll there in abundance and the only thing stopping us from braking harder in to the corners were the tyres, which is my next point...

We were certain that it would be raining all weekend, hence we didn't bother going out to buy a set of semi-slicks. Well, it only rained for one of the 4 stages, so this proved to be the wrong decision. Next time around we will take a set of semi-slicks and a set of the road tyres we already have just in case it rains.


Now onto the results. We were under the impression that the first and last of the 4 stages were worth less points for safety concerns, but it turned out that the points earned on each stage were equal. Anyway, we took it fairly easy on the first stage and came back with a time of 9:08, which is pretty respectable for a first outing. For the second stage it rained heavily for about half an hour, which happened to be exactly the time we were due to race. Due to a lack of experience and exhaustion cased by the intense heat (35C, 90% humidity), we allowed the window to steam up which meant we found it hard to see out of the windscreen. That, and the fact we didn't want to wreck our road car that we needed to drive home in, meant we got a poor time of 9:54.

After the first day of rallying we 65th out 80, which was very disappointing, but this only spared us on to drive faster and harder on day 2. Well, that's exactly what we did, and turned around our fortunes by achieving 8:58 and 8:45 respectively. That was enough to push us up to third place in our group, equal on points with fourth place, but 5 seconds faster over the 4 stages. So basically were 2 very lucky boys!


We didn't actually know we acheived a podium finish until the results were announced. I'm sure you can imagine our shock and delight when our names were called out! All-in-all we were very happy with the result, especially with it being our first competitive rally.


To summarize, we had an excellent weekend, met some fantastic people, and brought home some silverware for PB Brakes & Coilovers! We will continue to take part in the championship, and our car will be in much better shape for the next round in Yilan on the 29-30 June.

I would say that we are definitely hooked on rally now! Not just because of the racing, but the whole experience of being around people who share the same passion and enthusiasm. Rallying in Taiwan still has some way to go, and some improvements in safety have to be made, but the organisers do an amazing job to ensure that rallies continue to take place in Taiwan, despite all the red tape surrounding the sport.

I would also like to say thank you to LTC Racing team, who gave us an opportunity to race with them. They looked after us well, and the are an all-round great group of people! Thank you LTC!!!


Here are a few videos of the event...

Skip to 8:20 to see PB.


This is our in-car video of SS4