THE UNITED STATES RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP AT MIDSEASON
As the United States Rally Championship (USRC) passes (www.usrallychampionship.com) the midpoint of its fifth season, competition is heating up in all categories on both sides of the country. The United States Rally Championship awards separate National Championship titles in the 2WD (Two-Wheel-Drive) category and in the AWD (All-Wheel-Drive) category. In addition, eligible crews compete for the 2WD Production Cup and the AWD Production Cup. Most USRC events provide for two-pass reconnaissance and allow pace notes.
In the Atlantic Division and overall, the Irish crew of Daniel O'Brien, a former Eastern States Champion, and Brendan McCabe in a Subaru Impreza is leading the AWD Championship at midseason. They have been steadily climbing in the standings by finishing fourth at Rally New York USA and second at Rally Tennessee. Another Irish team of Tom Lawless with co-driver Brian Sharkey, who flies in for the USRC events all the way from Ireland, in a Mitsubishi Lancer is second after winning Rally Tennessee. Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino, in a Subaru Impreza, two-time winners of Rally New York USA are third in the AWD Championship. In the Pacific Division, Keith Jackson and Marra Estep in a Subaru Impreza are leading after winning Rally Idaho. Two more Subaru teams of Paul Eklund with Jeff Price and Byron Garth with Ron Crawford are second and third.
In the 2WD Championship in the Atlantic Division and overall, the Irishmen Dan Brosnan and Shane McCann in Nissan Sentra are leading after winning Rally New York USA and placing second at Rally Tennessee. They are the 2008 USRC runner-ups in the 2WD category. Josh and Jeremy Wimpey in a Volkswagen GTi are secondwith a second place at Rally Idaho. Wimpey brothers are the 2007 USRC runner-ups in the 2WD category. Brad Morris and Doug Nagy in a 2WD Mitsubishi Lancer are third. They won Rally Tennessee. In the Pacific Division, Lauchlin O'Sullivan, a former Mitsubishi USA Team driver, with co-driver Karen Wagner in a Dodge SRT-4 are leading after winning Rally Idaho. Aurimas and Amy Bakchis in an Eagle Talon are second and Cody Crane with Patrick Darrow in a Honda CRX are third.
Subaru driver William Petrow is leading the AWD Production Cup in the Atlantic Division with a win at Rally New York USA and a second place at Rally Tennessee. The leading co-driver is Austin Gager who has placed third and fourth in the previous events. Another Subaru crew of Byron Garth and Ron Crawford is leading the AWD Production Cup in the Pacific Division.
Michael Reilly and Josh Benthien in a Ford Focus SVT are in the first place in the 2WD Production Cup in the Atlantic Division. Alex Rademacher and John Stewart in a 2WD Subaru Impreza are leading the 2WD Production Cup in the Pacific Division.
The United States Rally Championship will continue with the remaining events that include Gorman Ridge Rally (www.gormanridgerally.com) in California, Prescott Rally (www.prescottrally.com) in Arizona and the final round of the Championship - International Rally New York (www.rallynewyrok.com).
Pacific Division teams are competing for coveted cash travel subsidies that will be awarded to top six teams in the Division. The total of $12,000 in subsidies will be distributed to Pacific Division teams to assist them with travelling to the final round of the United States Rally Championship in New York.
The United States Rally Championship is taking bold steps to make national competition more affordable and accessible to a larger number of rally teams. This is the third season of the new Championship structure that minimizes or, for many teams, eliminates the need for repeated cross-country travel during the Championship season by providing competition on each side of the country. The final round of the Championship at the end of the yearcounts both in theAtlantic Divisionand the Pacific Division and together with the results from all previous rounds decides the top spotsin the Championship.