TOPEKA, Kan. (July 28, 2003) -- It's back to the Northeast as the 2003 SCCA ProRally Championship heads to Rumford, Maine, Aug. 1-2, for the sixth round of nine events.
After moving westward from Pennsylvania to Colorado and then to Oregon, the Championship will tackle 124 miles of thick forests and dusty gravel roads over 11 stages in southwestern Maine along the New Hampshire border.
Team Mitsubishi Motor Sports America continues to roll along this season, led by the tandem of David Higgins, of Wales, UK, and co-driver Daniel Barritt, of Burnley, UK. The pair has teamed up to win five of six events so far this year; the exception coming at Pike's Peak where drivetrain problems hampered their 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution all the way to the top of the mountain.
They will be joined by teammates Lauchlin O'Sullivan, of San Francisco, Calif., and co-driver Christian Edstrom, of New York, N.Y. O'Sullivan has yet to win an event as part of the Mitsubishi Team, but has been impressively solid nonetheless in his own Lancer Evolution, currently sitting third in the John Woolf Cup standings with 41 points, four behind Air Force Reserves driver Tim O'Neil, of Franconia, N.H. (who has finished on the podium in every event except Sno*Drift with co-driver Alex Gelsomino, of Santa Clarita, Calif.), and 47 behind point- leader Higgins.
Subaru Rally Team USA is entered in the Rally, but will run just run the No. 5 car with Ramana Lagemann, of Cohasset, Mass., and co-driver Michael Orr, of Bangor, N. Ire. The other spot, which was held by Mark Lovell and Roger Freeman until their accident at Oregon Trail, will remain open for this event. Lagemann is back in action after Team Subaru withdrew from Oregon Trail. His second-place finish two events ago at Pike's Peak is his best this season.
Others to watch this weekend: Mark Utecht, of Stacy, Minn., continues his run at the FIA-Group N Driver's Championship this weekend ,in his Subaru Impreza WRX along with co-driver Jeff Secor, of Hudsonville, Mich. He is currently five points ahead of second-place Shane Mitchell, who, as of July 25, was not on the official entry list.
Doug Shepherd, of Plymouth, Mich., and co-driver Pete Gladysz, Troy, Mich., are a heavy favorite in the Group 5 class this weekend after their impressive win at Oregon Trail in their Dodge SRT - 4. In Group 2, Scott Fuller, of Eugene, Ore., and Jeff Call, of Kirkland, Wash., will also try for their second straight class win in Fuller's VW Golf. They will battle the Mazda Protege owned and driven by Eric Burmeister, of Dearborn, Mich. He will team up with his familiar co-driver, Cindy Krolikowski, of Wyandotte, Mich.
Fuller and Burmeister are currently tied atop the Woodner Cup standings, given annually to the top overall two-wheel driver, with 44 points each.
Bruce Davis, of Granite Bay, Calif., has the opportunity to pad his current 20-point lead (56-36) in the Production GT standings over Jamie Thomas, who is not entered in this event.
The 2003 Maine Forest Rally begins Friday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. (EDT) approx., immediately following the Parc Expose. The two day event is scheduled to be completed Saturday afternoon. For information, including complete schedule, entry list and maps, visit the event website at www.maineforestrally.com. For rally updates and final results, please visit www.scca.com/amateur/performance_rally/prorally/2003/index.html and click on the Maine Forest Rally link.
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