For Immediate Release - June 28, 1998 For More Information, Contact: Paul Giblin - (603) 466-3988
CANADIAN PRO RALLY CHAMPION FRANK SPRONGL SETS NEW OVERALL RECORD AT THE AUDI-MT.WASHINGTON HILLCLIMB
Pinkham Notch, NH - Under nearly perfect conditions Sunday, Frank Sprongl from Mississauga, Ontario became the new "King Of The Hill" at Mt. Washington by setting a new overall record in the 1998 Audi-Mt. Washington Hillclimb. Driving an all-wheel-drive, 350 horsepower Audi Quattro S2, Sprongl completed the 7.4 mile asphalt and gravel course in just 6 minutes, 41.99 seconds at an average speed of 66.27 miles per hour. The previous overall record of 6 minutes, 45.22 seconds was set in 1995 by current SCCA Champion Paul Choiniere of Williston, VT in 1995.
"I was really focused today", stated Sprongl after the race, "I've known for the past couple of years I could beat Paul's record if the conditions were right, it was just a matter of time. The conditions were fantastic today and the gravel section road was the best I've ever seen, it was a perfect day. This was my fifth race of the year and my fifth win, I couldn't be happier!"
For setting the new overall record and capturing first place in his class, Sprongl received over $2,500 in prize money, part of which was $1,500 from Audi of America through a sponsorship contingency program.
Finishing second overall, was Selcuk Karamanoglu of Georgetown, Maine driving an Eagle Talon. A former Turkish National Rally Champion, Karamanoglu came into this year's Audi-Mt. Washington Hillclimb as the defending champion. Posting a time of 7 minutes, 2.33 seconds, Karamanoglu stated after the race, "I just didn't have the horsepower today. This was Frank's day and he deserves the win, he drove very well."
Taking third place honors at the event overall, was Carl Merrill of Ogunquit, Maine driving a 400 horsepower Ford Cosworth Escort. Merrill,who currently leads the points race in the Sports Car Club of America Pro Rally Series, covered the 7.4 mile course in a time of 7 minutes, 5.44 seconds, just over 3 seconds behind Karamanoglu.
In other racing action at Mt. Washington, Jerry Driscoll of East Randolph, posted a time of 7 minutes 38.48 seconds to capture the win in Class 1 for the third year in a row.
Andrew Havas of Chapel Hill, NC set a new record in Class 3 driving a Honda CRX he prepared himself. Havas posted a record setting time of 7 minutes, 7.33 seconds to become the fastest driver ever of a front wheel drive car on the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Finishing just behind Havas in Class 3 was his brother Chris driving a Volkswagen Golf GTI Pro Rally Car. Chris posted a time of 7 minutes, 29.58 seconds to take second place honors.
In Class 4, Finland's Saaku Vierimaa who flew to the United States soley for the purpose of competing at Mt. Washington drove his Vermont Sports Car prepared Eagle Talon to a new class record by posting a time of 7 minutes, 25. 53 seconds.
Class 5 was won by Elizabeth Campbell of Rutland, VT driving a front wheel drive Volkswagen Golf. Campbell captured her 9th Class 5 victory in as many attempts by reaching the summit of Mt. Washington in a record setting time of 7 minutes, 40.81 sec.
Richard Rische of Chester, MA won Class 6 for the second year in a row by eclipsing the record he set in 1997. Driving a Legend Car, Rische covered the 7.4 mile course in 9 minutes, 8.54 seconds, beating second place finisher Nicholas DiGennaro of New Lebanon, NY by just over 22 seconds.
In the hotly contested Vintage Class, Patrick Curran of Alstead, NH claimed victory for the second time in three years driving his 1966 Shelby Mustang to a Class 7 win.
Sponsors of this years Audi-Mt. Washington Hillclimb included Audi of America, the Mt. Washington Auto Road, Byrnes Auto Centers of Dover, NH, the Wentworth Hotel & Resort located in Jackson, NH, Pepsi & Varsity Beverage of Conway, NH & Heritage NH, WHOM 94.5fm, WMWV 93.5fm, The Mountain Ear and Castrol Lubricants of North America.
Next years Audi-Mt. Washington Hillclimb is scheduled for June 25th- 27th, 1999. For more information regarding the results of this year's Audi-Mt. Washington Hillclimb, please contact the Mt. Washington Auto Road in Gorham, NH at 603-466-3988.
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