Seamus Burke and his son Joseph are (unofficially) holding first and fourth places overall at the end of day one of International Rally New York 2008. Seamus and co-driver Eddie Fries (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) are leading the rally, with a minute in hand from Celsus "Charlie" Donnelly/Barry Smyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo). Brian Scott/John Dillon (Subaru Impreza WRX) are holding third, seeking a finish among the leaders in order to wrap up the '08 U.S. Rally Championship in the all-wheel-drive (AWD) class.
Meanwhile, young Joseph Burke, working with veteran co-driver Ole Holter (Subaru Impreza WRX) are fourth at the event's half-way point. This is only the junior Burke's second outing in a powerful AWD car -- his first was the recent Black River Stages Rally in northern New York State, which he won.
In the two-wheel-drive (2WD) division, the husband-wife team of Kristopher and Christine Marciniak (Dodge Neon) are leading Michael Cosgrove/John O'Reilly (Mitsubishi Eclipse). Marciniak/Marciniak can sew up the 2WD national championship with a win here, but they are receiving pressure from championship rivals Hampton Bridwell/Josh Katinger (Ford Focus SVT). Bridwell/Katinger had an off-course excursion earlier today, and lost an estimated three minutes, but have made up all but 1:20 by day's end. They are seeking to take the class lead (and the title) in the rally's second and last day.
International Rally New York is an automobile rally counting toward the United States Rally Championship and the New York Rally Championship. It is held on the minor roads of the Catskill Mountain region of New York State, with special stages (speed tests) on roads closed to non-rally traffic. It will conclude in Walton tomorrow evening.
Seamus Burke/Eddie Fries (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) have won International Rally New York for the second year running. For this former national champion team, this comes at the end of a season of mechanical difficulties.
At the finish, Burke/Fries were three minutes ahead of Seamus's son Joseph Burke and co-driver Ole Holter (Subaru Impreza WRX). Holter noted at the finish, that this was only the younger Burke's second outing in a powerful turbocharged, all-wheel-drive car -- and in the first he won the Black River Stages Rally in Upstate New York.
Celsus Donnelly/Barry Smyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) had been a solid second for most of the rally. But with two special stages remaining, the car engine failed, apparently due to head gasket failure.
Brian Scott/John Dillon (Subaru Impreza WRX) finished third, after a cool performance in which they went just fast enough for a top finish -- sufficient to take the all-wheel-drive category title in the U.S. Rally Championship.
The two-wheel-drive (2WD) category in the rally was taken by the husband-wife team of Kristopher and Christine Marciniak (Dodge Neon), who also won the 2WD division of the U.S. Rally Championship. They were followed to the finish by Dan Brosnan/Shane McCann (Nissan Sentra) and the father-son team of Simon and Kieran Wright (Ford Focus).
Hampton Bridwell/Josh Katinger (Ford Focus SVT) were in contention with Marciniak/Marciniak early in the rally, for both the 2WD win and championship. But when the Ford slid off the road on the first day, the team was forced to "play catch-up." They were closing on the leaders again when they rolled the car -- without harm to themselves, but it put them out of the rally.
International Rally New York was the final round of the United States Rally Championship and the New York Rally Championship. It began in Callicoon, New York on Thursday evening, and ended in nearby Walton this evening.