Phoenix is known best for one thing: being hot all the freaking time. We've been coming out here for the past few years for our Super Lap Battle qualifying rounds and every time it's been at least 100-plus degrees. So go figure this year it decides to rain like it's the end of the world. The beauty of rain though is that it can be the great equalizer to separate the men from the boys. Teams had to adjust their game plan to deal with the slick track; all of a sudden guys who make 600hp and run R-comps find themselves at a disadvantage. Lucky for us, there was a few breaks in the rain for guys to get in some clean laps. After the last bit of rain dripped from my umbrella we were able to witness Tarzan Yamada pilot the Crawford Performance '08 Subaru STI to a blazing fast time of 1:02.11. What's even more impressive was the fact that due to the rain the Crawford team had not run the STI for any of the practice sessions; Tarzan was only able to take a few laps in a rental car to get a feel for the track. Coming up a close second for Unlimited AWD was GST in their GC8 Impreza with a 1:02.339. In the Unlimited FF class we had the local hero (and NASA AZ regional director) Tage Evanson in his Hasport-sponsored EG hatch bust out a 1:05.451 which edged out the Unlimited FR winner, Science of Speed's NSX driven by Brady Dohrman, which posted a time of 1:05.958.
Stepping it up this year from Street AWD was JC Meynet who made the leap to Limited AWD in his Subaru STI. With his brand-new setup, he posted the fastest Limited Class time with a 1:04.297 followed up by Limited FR winner AFI's S2000 driven by Jeremy Renshaw with a 1:07.370 and Limited FF winner Sportcar Motion's Honda Civic driven by Tim Kuo with a time of 1:08.419.
Over in the Street Class Tony Szirka of UMS Tuning however was able to use the rain to his advantage when he went with the Continental Contisport 3 street tires on his Mitsubishi Evo 8. The fully-treaded tires were designed in Germany to perform well in the dry but even better in the wet; considering it rains like it was Seattle over there you know they have a lot of experience in making performance tires for a range of weather conditions. Tony took the overall Street Class and Street AWD win with a 1:09.512, second overall in Street was Justin Markiewicz STI with a 1:11.917 and Brady Dohrman in his BMW M3 with a 1:12.156.
With the first round of the Super Lap Battle qualifying events done and in the books there are still plenty of opportunities to get a spot at the Finals in November. Go to www.superlapbattle.com for updated info and a schedule of events.