title bar for AWR racing, specializing in fabrication and design of high performance parts

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By George Doganis:

An update on what is happening with the car:

The 1992 Sentra SE-R was built per the California Rally Series Performance Stock Class Rules. Most parts necessary for the rebuild were supplied by Mossy Performance and all my questions were answered by the SE-R encyclopedia(Greg Vogel). Fabrication was handled by two of the best in the business: Dave Turner Motorsport in Hemet and Anthony Woodford Racing in Vista. Engine and transmission work was expertly completed by Hiro' s Auto Repair in Costa Mesa.

To get ready for rallying I entered a few GC Rally X rallycrosses and the car always finished between first and third place(on August 28 I missed fastest lap of the day by one hundredth of a second against AWD turbo cars). The rallycrosses were very helpful in figuring out how the car behaves on dirt and how to adjust the suspension. Speaking of the suspension, the DMS shocks are the most expensive part on the car and they are worth the money. Even so, I had to increase the DMS spring rates though, as our Socal rallies are very rough and the car was bottoming out too much.

The first real rally was Treeline in July. I ended up 9th out of 26 and 5th in class. The car survived but the skidplates took a bashing, even after raising the car 1" in the middle of the rally. I had broken-in the motor for 500 miles prior to the event and then floored it for 1 hour 17 minutes and 42 seconds(minus braking into corners). Despite the 95 degrees and only using first and second gears the motor did not miss a beat. The moral is that the Nissan GTI-R radiator and the NISMO thermostat work great with a stock motor. The major issues were that the car is longer than the VW GTIs and the rear bumper tends to hit things when going sideways on narrow roads and that the final drive is still wayyyyy tooo long(per the rules I had installed the 4.4). My autocross friends, Nino Frkanec, Ron Chapman and Mike Garcia helped me service the car and I am forever indebted to them.

Second rally was Gorman Ridge in August. Temperatures were in the mid-high 80s and, unlike Treeline, there were no 1,000 foot drop-offs. The event was rough and there were quite a few times that I was surprised that the car had not folded in half. At this event I had Laengworks provide service support so I could just concentrate on driving. The other positive was that the special stages were repeated so even though I had never been there before, I was gaining familiarity as the day went on. I started out cautiously and gradually picked up the pace: I ended up 6th out of 31 and 2nd in class. My biggest achievement was that I was third overall in the night stages 10 and 12. By that time my co-driver, Tom Smith, was doing a great job reading the stage notes WRC-style and I think that made a difference(we had never used them before). Even with the higher spring rates the car still bottoms out(occasionally), there was a fuel leak that Tom Laeng fixed and the rally odometer is malfunctioning. The alignment moved some but the car is still in one piece. The left rear rotor and brake caliper pins had to be replaced as a rock got stuck between them and the wheel!

Next rally will be Prescott in October. My plan is to finish that rally as well. In the meantime I will be working with AWR and Bilstein fabricating a second set of struts before the inevitable happens. Oh, around September 10-16 I will also be competing at the SCCA Solo 2 Nationals with my C Street Prepared Mazda Miata. Wish me luck.

George Doganis

PS My previous rally experience consisted of 1.25 rallies back in 1999. Long story, I destroyed that car...

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