After staying up well past midnight rebuilding and repairing the Lola transaxle and differential Wednesday night the Dallenbach Racing/Banks Power team was rewarded for all their hard work.
Text: Chris Tobin
Photos: Gale Banks Engineering
After staying up well past midnight rebuilding and repairing the Lola transaxle and differential Wednesday night the Dallenbach Racing/Banks Power team was rewarded for all their hard work. Despite running an open differential once again rather than the limited slip differential they hoped to use, Paul Dallenbach made excellent qualifying passes finishing the lower section of the course in 3-minutes 59.704 seconds at an average speed of 77.496 MPH.
Dallenbach’s closest competitor, French driver Jean Philippe Dayraut in the AWD Dacia Duster, posted a slightly faster time but as of now that time has been disallowed by USAC officials after the driver allegedly ignored a red flag from a course worker. As of now, the Dallenbach Racing/Banks Power #98 sits first in qualifying, which would give the team the first pick of start time to up the mountain in competition on Sunday. The next fastest competitor was Rhys Millen who finished his best run nearly 7.5-seconds off Dallenbach’s pace followed by David Donner that was more than 10-seconds behind the Dallenbach Racing/Banks Power machine.
With the “stickier” grooved slick Continental tires Dallenbach was able to put the 1,400-horsepower from the Twin-Turbo Chevy V8 to the ground with more confidence. He reported that he “was seriously under-driving the car now, and that it still has much more potential.” Remember this was his first time driving the car on the new tires and he needed to put down a safe, yet fast, qualifying time to ensure that they would make the field on race day. Dallenbach will have more practice time in the car Friday to get more comfortable and really push the car to its full potential on race day to take home the Unlimited Class win and hopefully a new PPIHC record!
There were no problems at all from the freshly rebuilt transaxle during the two runs Dallenbach made Thursday showing the skill and dedication of the crew after rebuilding the transaxle and reassembling the car in a far less than ideal environment. The team wanted to install the newly purchased limited slip differential in the transaxle during the rebuild, but found that their current ring gear would not fit the limited slip unit, requiring some simple machine work. Unfortunately the team’s campground/pit/rebuild area did not have a vertical mill available at 10:00 PM. They are making efforts to machine the parts and plan to rebuild the transaxle once again using the adjustable limited slip differential now that qualifying is over.
The Dallenbach Racing/Banks Power team will take to the mountain for more practice runs Friday and we will report the results right here. The team has risen to the occasion overcoming any problems and setbacks with determination, skill and the desire to win. They have to be considered one of the favorites to take home the overall win despite their humble hot-rodder approach and modest team budget. With 1,400 snarling twin-turbocharged horses piloted by a 6-time Pikes Peak class winner, with three Pikes Peak overall wins, it’s a safe bet that the Dallenbach Racing/Banks Power team will rise to the occasion on race day too!