Ramana Lagemann takes Olympus win Ramana Lagemann earned his first win of the season this weekend after a fierce battle with Australian driver Andrew Pinker that saw the pair exchange the lead right until the final seconds of the race. "It's...
Ramana Lagemann takes Olympus win
Ramana Lagemann earned his first win of the season this weekend after a fierce battle with Australian driver Andrew Pinker that saw the pair exchange the lead right until the final seconds of the race.
"It's unbelievable," said Lagemann, as he and co-driver Mark Williams pulled up to the finish after tearing through the slick 26-mile final stage. "That last stage was absolutely diabolical."
The win is something of a redemption for Lagemann, who has battled mechanical trouble in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution this season and failed to finish either of the two previous races he started.
For their part, Pinker and co-driver Robbie Durant were content to have brought their Syms Subaru home in second place after an intense contest that pushed them to perform at their best.
"I'm happy it was such a good fight," Pinker said after the final sprint to the finish. "That was the fastest I have ever driven -- no holds barred."
In the end, just 4.6 seconds separated the first- and second-place finishers -- after nearly two and a-half hours of intense competition spanning two days and more than 125 miles through the winding forest roads of the Pacific Northwest.
Third place overall went to Pinker's Syms teammates Tanner Foust and co-driver Christine Beavis. The crew was in the hunt for the lead from the start, but weren't able to overhaul the frontrunners. Foust has stepped up this season into the Open class this season after a successful PGT campaign, and is still making adjustments to his car -- and his own driving style -- to take advantage of the additional power.
"U.S. rally racing is really strong right now, it's really cool," Foust said at the finish.
Notably absent from the top three were the two Subaru Rally Team USA cars, both of whom struggled from the very start of the contest.
Ken Block and co-driver Alessandro Gelsomino finished fourth, more than four minutes off the lead, while Travis Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom -- already out of the game on Day 1 after they apparently ran out of fuel midway through the seventh stage -- crashed hard on Day 2 and had to retire from the contest. They were unhurt, but their car is believed to have suffered significant damage.
Also struggling to keep up the pace were Matt Iorio and co-driver Ole Holter, but they managed to finish fifth overall at the end of the day.
Likewise, seven-time U.S. champion Paul Choiniere battled engine trouble throughout the contest to finish seventh, while Andrew Comrie-Picard wound up eighth after suffering problems with his turbocharger.
Otis Dimiters and co-driver Alan Ockwell took the Group N win, finishing sixth overall in their Subaru. The PGT win went to Matthew Johnson and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey in their Hankook Tires Subaru.
In two-wheel-drive, Cary Kendall and co-driver Scott Friberg took the G5 win in a Dodge SRT-4, and Group 2 went to Michel Hoche-Mong and co-driver Sameer Parekh in their Volkswagen GTI.
In addition to the 2007 Rally America National Championship title, drivers are competing for entry into X Games 13. For the second consecutive year, rally racing will be featured in the Summer X Games, with the first five races of the 2007 Rally America season serving as qualifying events for the popular action-sport competition.
Although a new addition to the Rally America schedule for 2007, the Olympus Rally was a World Rally Championship race from 1986-1988. Rally racing legends such as Rod Millen, Juha Kankkunen and American John Buffum have claimed victories at the famed event.
Rally America drivers compete in street-legal vehicles that are modified for safety. Six vehicle classes, ranging from stock to highly modified, compete under the Rally America banner. Eleven different automobile manufacturers are represented in Rally America events, led by Subaru, Mitsubishi, Dodge, Ford and Volkswagen.
-credit: rally america