Manufacturers put product on line in Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The SCCA ProRally Championship will make its inaugural run in the Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 29th. This will be a manufacturer's points race, meaning the top teams from Hyundai, Subaru and Mitsubishi will do all they can to reach the summit in first place.
After 5 rounds in the Championship, Hyundai leads the SCCA ProRally manufacturer's points standings with a total of 61. It will pin its hopes on the teams of Mark Higgins (co-driver Michael Gibson) and Paul Choiniere (co-driver Cindy Krolikowski).
Hyundai may have an advantage with Choiniere, of Burlington, Vt., in the race. Choiniere won the Pikes Peak Open division in 1997 and placed second in 1998 and 2000, when he set a Pikes Peak Open record with a blazing run of 11 minutes, 26.05 seconds, then watched as Saab's Per Eklund broke his mark a few minutes later. Higgins, of Wales, is currently third in the SCCA ProRally driver's points race.
Hyundai may be fast, but it can't claim the summit until it beats Mitsubishi and driver Rhys Millen who has four consecutive victories in the Hill Climb's High Performance Showroom Stock class. The son of Hill Climb overall record holder Rod Millen, Rhys, of Huntington Beach, Calif., knows the course as well as any driver in the race. Mitsubishi is currently third in the manufacturer's points with 37.
Subaru (second in manufacturer's points, 52) has the U.K.'s Mark Lovell, the 2001 SCCA ProRally driver's champion (co-driver Steve Turvey) leading the way. Lovell is second in driver's points, and the cars are prepared and serviced by Prodrive, one of the world's leading rally car constructors.
The SCCA ProRally cars will pass through tech inspection at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Crystal Reservoir parking lot near the dam on the Pikes Peak Highway. The ProRally drivers will be available for interviews at the ProRally tech inspection, and the top four drivers in the Championship (Lovell, Higgins, Choiniere, and Millen) will draw for their starting positions.
All of the other car and truck divisions will qualify from 6-9 a.m. Thursday on the lower half of the course, from the starting line at Mile 7 on the Pikes Peak Highway to Glen Cove. The best place for interviewing will be Glen Cove.
The SCCA ProRally Championship will break from its tradition of no practicing and allow drivers to make runs at speed on Friday, June 28th. The group will make one run at 5:30 a.m. from the starting line to Glen Cove, then practice the top portion of the course (Cove Creek to the Summit) from 6-9 a.m. Cove Creek, just above Glen Cove, will be a good place for ProRally interviews on Friday.
<pre> SCCA ProRally entries
Car No. 1 Mark Lovell, co-driver Steve Turvey, 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX No. 5 Mark Higgins, co-driver Michael Gibson, 2003 Hyundai Tiburon No. 6 Paul Choiniere, co-driver Cindy Krolikowski, 2003 Hyundai Tiburon No. 2 Ramana Lagemann, co-driver Michael Kidd, 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX No. 3 Rhys Millen, co-driver Garry Cowan, 2002 Mitsubishi Evolution VII No. 29 Tim O'Neil, co-driver Ole Holter, 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX No. 30 George Plsek, co-driver Rob Farrow, 2000 Mitsubishi Evolution VI No. 83 Mark Utecht, co-driver Jeff Secor, 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX No. 36 Mark Cox, co-driver Jim Gill, 2000 Mitsubishi Evolution VI No. 48 Lon Peterson, co-driver Bill Gutzman, 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS No. 49 Jonathan Ryther, co-driver Janice Damitio, 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS No. 88 Doug Havir, co-driver Scott Putnam, 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX No. 124 Peter Workum, co-driver Alex Gelsomino, 1997 Subaru Impreza Sti No. 259 Scott Trinder, co-driver Robert Trinder, 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS No. 470 Geoffrey Maguire, co-driver, Dan Sprongl, 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX-Sti No. 432 Ron Nelson, co-driver Rick Burtis, 2002 Mitsubishi Evolution VII No. 306 Wolfgang Hoeck, co-driver Julie Lin, 2002 Mitsubishi Evolution VII No. 4 Laughlin O'Sullivan, co-driver Matt Chester, 2001 Mitsubishi Evolution 6.5