X-Games, Through the Eyes of Stephan Verdier
LOS ANGELES (CA)-Crawford Performance and Cooper tires are pleased to announce a spectacular final for X-Games 16 Rally Cross. Stephan Verdier and his Garrett-Powered Rally Cross / Drift / Gymkhana Car debuted for the first ever Rally Cross held by X-Games. Currently Verdier’s car competes not only in Formula D, but also a Gymkhana event in RWD format. When X-Games invited Stephan for the Rally Cross event, the car was converted to AWD format and a 45mm restrictor installed to restrict the power levels to equal the playing field for all competitors. Short Interview X-Games 16 – Roll In In order to convert the vehicle to make it a competitive vehicle for X-Games, against such teams as Ford Rally Team and Subaru Rally Team, the vehicle was brought to Crawford Performance for some serious work..
The car received a sequential transmission, custom twin scroll Garrett turbo kit, ECU remapping via EcuTeK ECU all provided by Crawford Performance for 600hp and 550 ft/lbs. While many other sponsors helped prepare the vehicle, including front and rear bumpers by GTI, top of the link rally suspension by Tein, including the engineer for setup and 15 inch rally wheels by Enkei. In order to install the new rally rims stock 4 pot Subaru rally brakes where provided by Ontario Subaru, and Motul providing the much need fluids for the sequential, differentials and engine, Clutch Masters with the twin plate clutch, Ignite racing fuel for the bio fuel, NGK offering spark plugs and O2 sensors, while K&N offered multiple filters where definitely needed after Verdier’s encounter with a cement wall. Cooper tires was also a big help with there rally cross tiresFriday Practice according to Stephan Verdier:
My second session on the track, X-Games staff watered it down heavily and I knew it was going to be slippery but not as bad as I thought. Into the first turn I began braking and there was no way to slow my speed down enough to make the corner. Bang the back of the car hit into the K-rail but luckily enough I didn’t lose my drift, but it happened to be bad enough to take the car to the frame shop that night to get it straight.
Saturday Qualifying according to Stephan Verdier:
I had a great qualifying round (Qualifying 2nd overall) and the car felt amazing, power everywhere and handle the best it had all weekend up to this point. Right after taking the checkered I was not able to stop in time before the cement barrier and the car crashed hard into the wall causing the engine to instantly shut off. The right front frame rail moved into the engine and broke the front timing pulley and locked the engine. Good thing we had 5 hours to fix it, but not a spare engine. The simple version of the story included a chain, a truck, and a little bit of luck in the hopes the engine may be salvageable. The team and many supporters dropped by to lend a hand to rebuild the beast, while the entire time we were hoping that the million to one shot would include no bent valves or damaged pistons. As lady luck may have it, we were that million to one shot, and when the engine pulleys were repaired, the timing belt reinstalled, the engine fired right up. The sigh of relief and the thrill form Verdier was ecstatic. We were back in the game!!! Now the remaining damage needed repair, a cracked rear left hub (no spare), front right A-Arm, front right bumper, front right chassis needed to be pulled back out, intercooler piping needed to be unbent, new K&N Air Filter, and numerous other small problems from the crash.
Semi-Finals according to Stephan Verdier:
This was my best run of the entire weekend. The car launched off the line and I had an instant lead on everyone else. The car was running perfectly, the run itself was great and the power was fantastic through the entire run. Every time I hit the straights the Crawford Performance Powered car would just pull cars lengths on the rest of the pack and by the time I had taken the checkered flag (and a 1st place) my heart was racing a mile a minute. Here is a video a local fan uploaded to YouTube of the first round. Semi-Final Round
Finals Round according to Stephan Verdier:
Due to qualifying second and Pastrana’s car not running, I was now the number 1 seed and had first pick at the gate for the finals. My launch was awful, because I was caught off guard due to a miscommunication between myself and the referee. So I started in last place (4th) for the finals, definitely not the way you want to start a race. In the first corner I was able to power by and out braked Hubinette like he was standing still. Then into the corner under the bridge (X- Games ramp) where Tanner and Deagan went wide which allowed me to cut back on the inside of Deagan. This was a perfect opportunity to cut back in the inside and steal the corner from Deagan and then a drag race down the back of the stadium, passing him before the hill and arch. In that drag race we touched at least 4 times of if not more, definitely a ton of excitement already. The next 3 laps I was closing on Tanner, then I started to lose some power, I thought Deagan pushed me and bent my exhaust, but one of my intercooler pipes that got bent during my crash in the qualifying rounds cracked and started leaking. I took the ‘joker’ lap which included the big jump right behind Tanner and at that point it just let go and lost almost all my power. At this point Deagan was able to pass me and between the arch Samuel tried to pass me on the outside but I was able to friendly block him. But alas going down to the finish the car wouldn’t go and Samuel passed me about 100 feet from the finish. I couldn’t help but be mad, but after what had happened over the past couple days’ competing in the X-Games for the first time and taking home 4th overall at X-Games 16 was awesome! ESPN Finals Next, we are off to Formula D Las Vegas, only two weeks away and the car needs to be prepped for RWD and more power. Thanks to all my sponsors, Cooper Tires (awesome rallycross tire), Crawford Performance, GTI, Tein, Clutch Masters, Enkei, Ignite Racing Fuel, Subaru of Ontario,Turbo by Garrett, Sparco, APT, Von Zipper, Motul, K&N, Seibon… And yes we did complete 5 laps. Image Gallery Here: Stephan Verdier; X Games 16