All Female Rally Team Debuts New Car at Sandblast Rally 2018
Noble Star Rally driver Amanda “RalyGrl” Skelly returns to the Sandblast Rally on 3rd March 2018 in Cheraw, SC. Skelly has been a fan favorite of the rally, competing there for 4 years, and was missed last year.
Sandblast will mark the official launch of Skelly’s new rally car, a 1997 Subaru Impreza. The car made its unofficial debut during the 2017 New England Forest Rally last July in Maine, where she and co-driver Elizabeth Cordara and the team attempted to give the car it’s first testing and run through. The event resulted in catastrophic engine failure after just 9 miles on stage. After the event and speaking with tech inspectors and a new cage builder; the team came to the consensus that the car needed an overhaul. Over the fall and winter, the crew at Turbo Time (Subaru Specialists) and cage builders at Restoration Race Works Inc (RRW), out of Raleigh, NC have been working diligently to cut out and rebuild the car’s cage, rebuild the engine and fine tune other aspects of the vehicle such as wiring, cosmetic appearances, safety functionalities and custom setups for the ladies. It is unclear at this time if the new livery will be revealed at the event or if it will follow afterwards.
“I am beyond excited to show everyone what the new car looks like and to see what it can do. It has gotten a complete overhaul over the past six months and I cannot express how important it is to pay attention to every detail that goes into a build. I have had a few hard lessons to learn over the past two seasons, but I believe wholeheartedly I am finally with the right people, and their professionalism, skilled trades and general demeanor have made all of the prior battles worth it all. I highly recommend anyone looking for a cage to talk to the guys at RRW, or anyone with Subaru issues to talk to the guys at Turbo Time. I really have no idea what I would do without them!” states Skelly.
Not only is Skelly excited to officially debut the new car after the overhaul, but she is excited to be joined by Jonas Racing Team Co-Driver Villa Cseh of Milford, PA for the official debut of her new rally car. Skelly and Cseh met at the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally in 2014; the year Cseh debuted in stage rally, and became fast friends. Cseh has been competing with her father Lajos “Louie” Jonas as a co-driver in a Group 5/2WD Heavy, 1995 BMW M3, and has competed in 21 events. She has raced in both National and Regional events. In 2015, she placed 3rd Overall Co-Driver in 2WD for the Atlantic Rally Cup in the NASA Rally Sport Championship. This will be her first time co-driving in an AWD vehicle and with another driver.
"Amanda and I met in 2014 and we have been great friends ever since. She's always helped me through so much and I've also gotten to learn a lot from her so when she asked me to co drive for her I was beyond excited. This would be my first experience in an AWD car. Also my first experience with a female sitting next to me. I am very honored to be by her side for the new car debut. From what I've seen, she is an excellent driver. I'm really looking forward to teaming up with her for Sandblast!" expresses Cseh.
In addition to all the exciting announcements for Skelly, a few weeks ago, she was contacted by Anders Green from NASA Rally Sport, letting her know the car numbers were assigned. He insisted she pay close attention to her number as it had worked out in a way that would touch her heart. When Skelly checked the entry list, she came to tears to see that she would be debuting her new car as number 65, a number that her friend and former rally driver Matthew Noble Marker hosted in the Rally America series until his passing during an event.
“It just finally felt like all the pieces of the puzzle were finally coming into place. I have waited for this moment for so long, and to finally get this build right, and to finally come back in my own car after 2 seasons off… To be able to run this season with Marker’s number… It melted my heart. It just confirmed everything for me and that we are finally on the right path with the right people. What more could you ask for at that point?” concludes Skelly.
You can follow the build and girls journey along here:
Instagram: @RalyGrl @villachristina01