One of this week’s rally school graduates is fellow AMSOIL partner Karen Jankowski. Karen is a decorated rally co-driver who has an astonishing 120 stage rallies under her belt, but has always had the dream of getting behind the wheel and becoming a rally driver.
Having recently competed as a driver at the Oregon Trail and Pacific Forest Rallies in her Dodge Caliber SRT4, the Washington State native packed her bags and headed to Team O’Neil for some driver training.
“It’s 100% applicable to stage rally,” she explains when asked about the training at the school. “The best part is, I want to learn in a front wheel drive, two wheel drive car. Subarus are great and wonderful, but that’s not what I have. So coming here to Team O’Neil makes a lot of sense.”
Team O’Neil is known for its progressive curriculum, teaching students how to drive any car at the limit. Utilizing the Ford Fiesta platform as a starting point is a methodology that the school swears by. Even with Jankowski’s previous experience, the stock Ford Fiesta rally school cars were great tools to help her brush up on old skills and acquire new techniques to utilize on the rally stages.
“It’s really nice to come here and practice on a stage road that is super similar to a rally stage, but then also practice on the open areas where I can screw up in a safe environment.”
With the week progressing through different vehicle platforms and increasingly more advanced techniques and roads, Jankowski had nothing but nice things to say about Team O’Neil’s instructor cadre.
“The instructors are really good for a couple of reasons. You have people who are previous or current rally racers but you also have instructors who are not directly from rally racing. They bring knowledge from skiing, off-roading or snowmobiling and it all works perfectly in giving you different outlooks from different backgrounds.”
“I talked with AMSOIL a couple years ago about potentially working together, then personally started using their products and visited their headquarters. I was mind blown at the testing facility and the entire operation. So, as I was making the decision to start my own team, it was nice to have AMSOIL say ‘we’re going to support you, we believe in you’ and I really like their products.”
“For you guys it’s great because you’re going through a ton of oil, so it makes sense for them to support you because at the same time you are able to test their product and give them feedback on the performance.”
We wish Jankowski nothing but success in her upcoming rally season and hope to see her back out here at the school in the future.