Tony Jardine and Sean Moriarty successfully completed their pre-Rally Norway preparations by bringing their Subaru Norway supplied Impreza to the finish line of the Sigdal Rally on Saturday.
Jardine and Moriarty, a journalist with Motorsport News, are returning to the scene of one of their greatest achievements by contesting Rally Norway, the second round of the World Rally Championship next month. The media duo used this weekend's Norwegian National Rally Championship season opener as a warm up event. The pairing have also previously steered a ProSpeed Motorsport prepared Ford Fiesta ST to third in class in Rally Norway two years ago but decided to up the ante considerably this year by using a four-wheel drive Impreza.
Although Jardine has considerable snow-driving experience it is 14 years since he drove a four-wheel drive car on ice and this prompted the extra preparation for next month's event.
The Sigdal Rally was also the opening round of the new for 2008 Subaru Cup and the media paring were able to gauge their performance against some of the most experienced ice drivers in the world including rising start Andreas Mikkelsen who went on to finish third overall, and top Subaru driver, in the demanding six-stage event.
A solid 51st overall and 25th in Group N out of over 130 starters was their reward despite battling temperatures as low as minus 13 and ice covered roads in the majestic winter wonderland of the Scandinavian country. They survived a challenging 100km route, high in the mountains near Sigdal, where merely reaching the finish on the frozen roads would have been an achievement in itself.
If that was not enough of a challenge, Jardine had to completely revise his driving style in an effort to master driving a complex four-wheel-drive turbo-charged car in the arctic conditions.
"Scandinavian drivers are experts at using their left foot to brake and slow the car while simultaneously keeping the power down with their right foot and still have the time to change gear," said the Sky Sports presenter.
"This is the only way to drive a car like the Impreza on snow and ice so it was a difficult learning curve for me. Despite nearly 30 years of competition experience this was my first time trying this technique and while it was difficult at the start, by the end of the rally I was getting much better at it."
Jardine employed the services of rally legend John Haugland, who runs the Winter Rally School near Geilo in central Norway, to help him come to terms with the new driving style.