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Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

January 22, 2009

Team O'Neil Day 2

We began Day 2 running a slalom course driving the same front-wheel drive Volkswagen Jettas that we started with on Day 1. The slalom started with long turns that grew steadily tighter. It was a good way to re-acclimate to the vehicles and also to get the feel for weight transfer which would lead us into the second maneuver of the day, Pendulum Turns. A pendulum turn is used to whip you around a tight corner at a reasonably high speed. You first turn hard enough in the opposite direction of the turn to start a skid and then counter steer to whip the car back around and accelerate out. Good luck. This was the first time in the course that I really started getting frustrated. I could get the first skid down pretty well, but found myself somewhat overwhelmed mid-way through and half the time ended up chowing down on the cones that marked our desired path on the exit. Then we added the slalom again, finishing it with a pendulum turn. This actually seemed to settle me down. I was over-thinking it less and instinctively feeling the turns a little better. To end the driving portion of the day we switched over to all-wheel drive Audi 4000s. Of course this meant more changes to our driving technique, but not so much that we couldn't hit the slalom and pendulum turns fairly well right away. At the very end of the day there was an optional classroom course that earned you co-efficients (or points) towards a rally license. I'm not sure that I'll ever drive in a pro rally, but I stayed on nonetheless just to increase my understanding of the sport. All in all another great day at Team O'Neil!

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