ProRally: Ojibwe Forests: Team Mitsubishi day one notes

Higgins looks strong in Minnesota, O'Sullivan close behind Lauchlin O'Sullivan and Christian Edstrom had the lead after four stages at the 2003 Ojibwe Forests ProRally. An unrestricted view of the course was the benefit of being first on the...

Higgins looks strong in Minnesota, O'Sullivan close behind

Lauchlin O'Sullivan and Christian Edstrom had the lead after four stages at the 2003 Ojibwe Forests ProRally. An unrestricted view of the course was the benefit of being first on the road and provided an invaluable advantage for the number six car. However, this was not enough to keep the persistent David Higgins from charging ahead and taking the overall lead at the end of day one.

"We had a bit of a problem, we had a puncture and we had to drive six miles on it so we lost sixty seconds. Nothing major. You can't push on when you have a puncture," explained Barritt. But even the tire couldn't stop this year's championship point's leader from the number one spot on the road, as the rally restarts Saturday afternoon.

Higgins, when asked about the incident said, "Very unfortunate about the puncture. But the car's fantastic and everything is really good. The handling is superb. Dust could be a big factor now, so we will just have to do the best we can." So far, that doesn't seem to be a problem. Their Lancer Evolution proved it could rebound from any minor glitch without hesitation.

O'Sullivan and Edstrom had a great run early in the race, setting the best time on stage four. After the service stop and the re-seed, although remaining in the top position, the light rain that fell on the course eliminated dust as a factor, erasing their advantage. In fact, being first in this situation actually becomes a disadvantage when there are no tracks to follow.

"Today was a terrific day for the team. Having Lauchlin on the road first allowed him to really raise his game. His time on stage four was very impressive," said motorsports manager Dick Kelley. "Coming into Saturday, both drivers know that the Team Mitsubishi Motorsports America needs two podium finishes to clinch our first championship, so their focus remains to drive a smart rally and follow what got Mitsubishi to this point in the season.

Quotes

David Higgins -

"The first 3 stages of the day were magnificent, the car was setup perfectly and it was the best it has felt all year."

"We believe we hit a rock on stage 4 and got a flat. We drove 6 miles on it. We think we lost about a minute."

"We took it a bit easy after the service because we weren't quite sure what everyone else's pace was going to be. But on the final 2 stages we brought the speed up a bit and took alot of time back and got back into 1st overall."

Lauchlin O'Sullivan -

We had a good day. We are not pushing too hard because we are focusing on finishing this event and locking up the Manufacturer's Championship for Mitsubishi.

The car feels great and we are having fun so far. I was a little off the pace on stage 6 and just got out of rhythm, but I got back on it after that and we were setting similiar times to David and Ramana.

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Series SCCA-PRO