Fast forward to Sunday's Challenges at the DC ProSolo. The top two seeds met in the final round -- L1 winner against the L2 winner -- and it was me (L2) and Carrie (L1) in the same cars as before. The only difference was that the WRX was now ESP, and so I'd be giving her a legitimate head start. I was the one who'd gotten lucky in an earlier round, carrying a cone on a win over Meredith Najewicz, but I'd still managed to break out ever-so-slightly when I took out Tara Knoll in the second round. Carrie hadn't exactly breezed to the final round, needing to get by Chris Peterson and Heather Everett. I knew I had a second of "sand" on the right-side course after posting a 29.9 there earlier in the day on a 0.464 redlight, so I wasn't too concerned.
We paired up to the sounds of Jeff Jacobs announcing the reprisal of the Finale. I turned on the CD, going for Paramore (Misery, Inc.) , and getting Against Me! (Thrash Unreal) instead. The video for this (hopefully I'll get it posted later today) is funny, as my launch is perfectly timed with the music. In any event, I had a good launch, though I was still more tentative on course than I should have been. I was really too worried about cones during the Challenge (and it didn't help me against Meredith, as I didn't know I'd coned until I came in and heard the announcement). I came across the line first -- no surprise, as the difference between courses was close to two seconds -- and I hear Carrie is nearly four seconds back, plus a cone! Wow, wasn't expecting that. So, I line up on the left, bring the revs up, her lights come dow-- redlight. What? I can't remember if I have to complete the course, as she pulls forward and around, so I just do a "victory lap."
Later, she tells me that she didn't just cone on the left, she DNFed, and she knew it. She redlit to "save timing the trouble of figuring out" she'd already lost. Wow. I was relieved though, as the CEL had come on before my runs, and I was happy to not have to push the car hard through the course one more time.
So, my first National event in the WRX was a resounding success! Additionally, MODE Racing is a new sponsor for the season, so things are looking up with the car. And now... it needs a bath. Champagne gets sticky and disgusting after a few hours!