Jan and Jody Zedril Eager to Return to the CRC

After several years of being a staple in the Canadian Rally scene, and specifically the 2wd National Championship, Jan and Jody Zedril decided to take the 2012 season off completely.

The pair dominated the 2wd championship from 2009 to 2011, and were champions in the North American Production Class in both 2007 and 2008. Their success came partly through remarkable consistency, as they rarely failed to finish a rally during their run of championships. So it naturally came as a bit of a surprise when they announced their intention to take a sabbatical this season.

We dropped the brothers a line asking what they had been up to during their time away from the sport. What we got in return was an incredible response that not only outlined their reasons for taking a break, but also included some tantalizing hints about their plans for the future.

JODY: Following the 2010 season, we had actually decided that we would run a limited schedule in 2011, compared to the 8-9 events we had done in each of 2007-2010. At least that was the plan, until Tomoki Yanagawa, who was the Vice President of Sales/Marketing & Corporate Planning for Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada at the time approached us at the CARS Awards Banquet in January 2011 and expressed how important the 2wd national title was for the brand.

That said, by the time our flight landed back in Winnipeg, we had turned our planned limited schedule into yet another typical season with only two weeks to prep the car and ourselves for Perce*Neige, which was not part of our original limited schedule. It was at this time that we also decided that we would then scale back Canadian efforts altogether for the 2012 season, regardless of the outcome of the 2011 championship, or opportunities presented to us for 2012, to afford us the time to regroup and come back better and stronger, which brings us to where we are today.

JAN: As it turns-out, our timing couldn't have been better as Mitsubishi Canada decided to suspend their contingency program just prior to the start of the 2012 season. From what we understand, they are supporting their premier AWD team, and rightfully so, although, we can't help but feel that the 2wd national title must still be important to the brand and look forward to working with Mitsubishi again and continue to demonstrate the quality of their products. After all, I don't think there are many rally cars out there than can boast (49) events without a single mechanical DNF.

JODY: More than anything, our decision was simply based on the fact that we need the time in order to bank/rebuild our holidays and to catch-up on all of our work that has compiled while travelling 2-3 months out of each of the past 5-years, in addition to all of the work prepping and re-prepping after each and every event.

JAN: Plus, we felt that our progression had levelled off, and figured the best way to continue progressing, while limiting time away from home/work was to revisit our roots. Since we've been homebound, we have been visiting the gym, swimming 2-3km throughout each and every week, and most recently, purchased a pair of Honda Rincon SUV type ATVs, which is what got us hooked on rally in the first place. Since then, we have been heading out to the forest roads/trails nearly every weekend and are not content unless we log a minimum of 150km per day and have done as much as 400km in one weekend so far. I'm not sure if there are any other competitors out there who utilize the same training method, but the endurance and mental aspects are as close as one could get to rally.

JAN: Personal preparations aside, we will begin a comprehensive overhaul of our service/tow rig in the coming weeks, followed by a complete overhaul of the rally car, stripping it down to the shell, re-skinning it and all. We had contemplated on replacing the service rig altogether, but it suits us extremely well and is already configured to our liking, which would be a job in itself if we were to start with a newer rig. I doubt we'll be able to get another 430,000km out of it, but it's been good to us so far.

As for the rally car...for the longest time now, people have been asking when we are moving to AWD, but the fact of the matter is that we are still not done with our Lancer and there is still much we can learn with it and from it. Nevertheless, despite how loyal we have been to Mitsubishi to date, we have pretty much decided on which AWD platform we will be going with down the road, but we will reserve final selection when that time comes, based on what the various manufacturers we have considered are producing at that point in time, and what opportunities exist with each of them. In the meantime, 2wd is where it's at for us for a multitude of reasons.

JODY: So, although we won't be at any Canadian events this year, we are working diligently behind the scenes on a number of fronts. At the same time, as passionate as we are about the sport, it has been nice to be at home for a change, and although not rally related, garage/home renovations have taken a ton of time as well!

Many thanks to both Jan and Jody for taking the time to talk to us, and we look forward to seeing them back in the car very soon.