ProRally: Subaru Rally Team Pickes Peak race report

Subaru Rally Team USA wins at Pikes Peak; Lovell and Turvey become the first Britons in history to win at famed course. PIKES PEAK, Colo., July 1 -- Subaru Rally Team USA's Mark Lovell and Steve Turvey finished first overall in the SCCA ...

Subaru Rally Team USA wins at Pikes Peak; Lovell and Turvey become the first Britons in history to win at famed course.

PIKES PEAK, Colo., July 1 -- Subaru Rally Team USA's Mark Lovell and Steve Turvey finished first overall in the SCCA ProRally class at this weekend's 2002 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Lovell and Turvey completed the 12.5-mile, 156-turn course in just 11 minutes, 52.69 seconds. Lovell and Turvey are the first ever SCCA ProRally Overall winners at the Pikes Peak, and become the first British citizens to secure a class win at the famed "race to the clouds." Subaru teammates Ramana Lagemann and Michael Kidd delighted fans with a nearly perfect drive to the 14,110-ft. summit, posting a time of 12 minutes, 23.98 seconds.

In their first appearance at Pikes Peak, Lovell and Turvey charted top times throughout practice, working with team engineers on engine mapping characteristics to overcome power loss at higher altitudes. Lovell and Turvey were the first Open class competitors to tackle the course on race day, setting a blistering pace that would never be challenged. In fact, their winning Subaru finished less than 4 seconds behind the much more powerful Unlimited Class Ford RS200 rally car of Swedish rally legend, Stig Blomqvist.

"That was the toughest 12 miles I've ever driven," exclaimed Lovell. "We faced so many unknowns, but the team did a fabulous job with the engine mapping and our Pirelli engineers gave us an excellent tire with tremendous grip. What an incredible result, absolute magic."

Ramana Lagemann and Michael Kidd averted near disaster during Friday's final practice when their Subaru WRX slid wide on the course's upper portion. The WRX came to a rest teetering nearly halfway over a cliff, the front wheels dangling above a drop of more than 2,000 ft. Kidd quickly emerged from the car, enlisting the aid of Subaru Team personnel and photographers to hold onto the rear of the car until a course safety vehicle arrived. However, the duo returned to competitive form on race day, benefiting from a softer suspension setup and some expert advice from veteran Peak competitor, Robby Unser. Lagemann and Kidd finished fourth overall in Open Class, just .08 of a second behind the Mitsubishi Lancer of Lauchlin O'Sullivan and Matt Chester.

"I had to alter my driving style to suit the unique nature of the course. Each corner is completely different and it's essential to carry maximum speed through every one," said Lagemann. "One extra mile per hour in the lower sections can pay big dividends at the top of the course. We learned a lot this weekend, and helped earn valuable points in the Manufacturer's Championship."

Other notable ProRally competitors included the Hyundai Tiburon piloted by Paul Choiniere and substitute navigator Cyndi Krolikowski, driving for nearly 10 miles on a flattened tire to finish second in Open class. Choiniere's teammate Mark Higgins failed to finish after a power steering problem terminated his run more than halfway up the mountain.

Lovell's first place elevates Subaru to within four points of 2002 ProRally Manufacturer's Championship leader Hyundai. Subaru Rally Team USA will travel East for the Maine Forest ProRally on July 26, 2002. For additional information about Subaru Rally Team USA, visit the team's web site at www.rally.subaru.com/.

About Subaru Rally Team USA

In its debut season, Subaru Rally Team USA captured the 2001 SCCA ProRally Manufacturer's Championship, as well as Driver's Championships in both the Open and Group N classes. Subaru Rally Team USA is a collaborative effort between Subaru of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STi) and Subaru World Rally Team Representative, Prodrive. Subaru Rally Team USA uses Pirelli tires exclusively.

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Series HILLCLIMB , SCCA-PRO