Press Notes and Final Results from the 1995 Sand Hills/Sand Blast PRO Rally -- Compiled from material prepared by Andy Shupack, (401)739-5677, (401)739-6729 Fax, Compuserve 76456,2652
Press Notes #1 Sand Hills/Sand Blast PRO Rally Round #1 - 1995 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally Series February 10 - 10:00 PM
1. Welcome to Cheraw, South Carolina, and the Sand Hills/Sand Blast PRO Rally, the first event for the 1995 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally series. The sandy roads of the Sand Hills State Forest near Patrick, SC, have already been reported to be wet and muddy, with more rain predicted for tomorrow. The weather has been unseasonably cold all week (10 degrees F on Tuesday night), but promises to be in the 50's for the one-day event tomorrow.
2. This 70 stage-mile, six-stage event is a coefficient 3 divisional event in which the nationally-licensed drivers will be awarded 60 percent points. National drivers can either run for points at this divisional, or at a similar event next month in Washington State. Because the Quebec Rally in Canada is also this weekend, several top competitors opted to run north of the border and then exercise their Doo Wop Rally option in Olympia, Wash. March 18-19.
3. Some interesting items about Paul Choiniere's new Hyundai Elantra:
Buffum has taken technology from several Hyundai models and meshed it with the proven Audi experience to come up with a combination that may be hard to beat. Included are driveline components from an upcoming Hyundai Sport Utility vehicle - named only as the HCD III. The car was a DNF two weeks ago in Canada with John Buffum driving and Trish Sparrow co-driving. It was an off-road excursion rather than a mechanical failure. The car, which finished a close second to Frank Sprongl's Audi in Maine in December, is just the test "mule" for a second car which Libra Racing is building for the rest of the season. They hope to debut the car at the Sunriser PRO Rally in Ohio in April.
4. Because of his busy schedule, Jeff Zwart will not be able to race his Porsche in 1995. By the way, if you missed the feature article on the front page of the Life section on Jeff (with color photo) in the January 17 issue of USA TODAY, you should call them and get a back issue.
5. Carl Merrill will join the series - complete with a new tub on his powerful Ford Escort Cosworth - at the Doo Wop weekend March 18-19. Merrill is running the Quebec rally this weekend.
6. Henry Joy's new right-hand-drive Mitsubishi Lancer should debut at the Sunriser event April 7-8 in Ohio. Henry is currently on his honeymoon. Greg Lund's Ford Merkur Cosworth - with a reported 450 horsepower - will make it first appearance in the friendly confines of the Wild West PRO Rally in Washington April 21-22.
7. Because of a legal dispute involving ownership of their Toyota All-trac rally car, Vinnie Frontinan and Frank Arruda will not be at South Carolina. Vinnie flew to Ireland to run an event this past weekend.
8. The Tom Ottey/Pam McGarvey Mazda 323GTX will be running in the Open class with their Production GT car to garner Open point in anticipation of taking possession of the ex-Peter Moodie Hyundai Elantra which Rod Millen tested at Wild West in 1993. Ottey, who bought the car from the Executive Motors people in Jamaica who sponsored Moodie here last year in his Group A-winning effort, hopes to have the car in time for his home event - Sunriser - in April.
9. John Buffum is in Europe this weekend running a vintage rally in Monte Carlo.
10. At the close of registration on Friday, 20 cars have entered this year's Sand Hills/Sand Blast PRO Rally.
11. The bad weather - snow and freezing conditions - in both the South and the Northeast affected many of the competitor's trips to Cheraw. Ivan and Olga Orisek burned up two tires on their tow vehicle trying to free it from backyard ice in White Plains, NY. In South Carolina, where ice is a rarity, schools were closed throughout the state today.
12. The Greg Trepetin Honda Prelude V-Tech will be making its debut in South Carolina. It will be interesting to see how it runs against the V-Tech of Jim Anderson, with a year of rally seasoning on his car. Throw last year's Production rookie sensation Tad Ohtake into the mix with his Ford Escort GT, and veteran Dick Casey's VW GTI (eligible again for the class as rules moved the age of cars from six years old to eight),the Production class could be the battle of the weekend.
13. In Production GT, defending champion Selcuk Karamanoglu has finally stuffed all the goodies from his crashed Mitsubishi Eclipse into an Eagle Talon he bought (hard because the Mitsu. was a five-speed and the Talon was an automatic). He had opted to make the car's debut in Quebec, however, leaving Cal Landau to be the favorite in Production GT with his Eclipse.
14. No trucks or Group A cars are entered. The American Rally Association, the governing body for the PRO Rally rules, is looking closely at both classes in terms of low entries to determine whether the classes should continue.
SAND HILLS/SAND BLAST PRO RALLY ROUND #1 - 1995 SCCA/MICHELIN PRO RALLY SERIES February 11, 1994 Entry List
Start Car Driver/ Hometowns Vehicle/Class Pos # Co-Driver
1 1 Paul Choiniere Shelburne, VT Hyundai Elantra/Open Jeff Becker Great Neck, NY National
2 2 Bruno Kreibich Ridgewood, NY Audi Quattro/Open Rod Hendricksen Clinton, NJ National
3 3 Tom Ottey Columbus, OH Mazda 323GTX/Open Pam McGarvey Columbus, OH National/Div.
4 4 Cal Landau Coraopolis, PA Mitsubishi Eclipse/GT Eric Marcus Dayton, OH National/Div.
5 5 Ivan Orisek White Plains, NY Audi Quattro/Open Olga Orisek White Plains, NY National/Div.
6 6 Carl Fisher Greenville, NH Dodge Omni/Open Ted Mendham Lyndeboro, NH National/Div.
7 7 Mike Villemure Westland, Mich. VW Beetle/Group 2 Rene Villemure Flat Rock, Mich. National/Div.
8 8 Dick Casey Fairfax Station, VA VW GTI/Prod. Martin Dapot Reston, VA National/Div.
9 9 Leslie Suddard Wilmington, DE Dodge Charger/Open Anne Thomas Nashua, NH National/Div.
10 10 David Ralakis Parker, TX Mazda 323GTX/GT Garrett Davis Austin, TX National/Div.
11 11 Roland McIvor Beaver Falls, PA Ponitac Lemans/Group 2 Ellen Santarcangelo Beaver Falls, PA National/Div.
12 12 Tad Ohtake Dearborn, MI Ford Escort/Production Bob Martin Goodrich, MI National/Div.
13 13 Jim Anderson Carrboro, NC Honda Prelude/Prod. Ben Greisler Philadelphia, PA National/Div.
14 14 Edward Mucklow St. Albans, WV Toyota Celica GTS Robert Campbell Dunbar, WV Divisional
15 15 Sylvester Stepniewski Keansburg, NJ VW Scirocco Adam Pelc Brooklyn, NY Divisional
16 16 Keith Kreisler Collegeville, PA Saab 900/Group 2 Greg Usavage Perkiomenville, PA National/Div.
17 17 Gerry Brinkman Freehold, NJ VW GTI/Group 2 Robert Barrall Bethlehem, PA National/Div.
18 18 Gregory Trepetin North Potomac, MD Honda Prelude/Prod. Sonia Trepetin North Potomac, MD National/Div.
19 19 Raed Almakhtoob Greenville, SC VW Scirocco Andrew Skinner Greenville, SC Divisional
20 20 Richard Grupp Norcross, GA Al Macauley Lawrenceville, GA
Press Notes #2 Sand Hills/Sand Blast PRO Rally Round #1 - 1995 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally Series February 11 - 2:30 PM
15. The #10 Mazda 323GTX of David Ralakis/Garrett Davis - a former Carl Merrill/Libra Racing car most recently owned by Pat Ayer - is being run by a new team, but the driver might be the most experienced racer in the field. Ralakis ran on the world rally circuit for 12 years when he lived in his native Greece in the '60s and '70s, including the 1000 Lakes of Finland, the East African Safari, and all through Europe with factory Alfa, Renault and other teams. The last time he rallied, however, was 1972, so he will have some catching up to do. His primary sponsor is Le Texan Restaurants, which have locations in Monte Carlo and Paris (France).
16. Changes in the entry list previously published include:
--The Dick Casey/Martin Dapot VW GTI is now #24. --The Tad Ohtake/Bob Martin Ford Escort GT is now #66. --The Greg Trepetin/Sonia Trepetin Honda Prelude is now #23. --The Richard Grupp/Al Macauley #20 entry is a Toyota Corolla.
17. The #19 VW Scirocco of Raed Alamkhtoob/Andrew Skinner from Greenville, South Carolina - the only local driver entered - was forced to withdraw before the event as his car was damaged in transit to the rally. The trailer dipped a wheel off the road and flipped. The crew was up all night trying to repair it, but the final blow was the non-availability of a replacement windshield this morning.
18. Jonathan Corey, one of the event sponsors, has a manufacturing facility located right in Patrick, SC, only a mile from the start of the event. The company provides high quality shirts for silk screen printers who produce logo shirts for a wide variety of customers, including NASCAR and IndyCar racing teams. If the shirts provided to drivers and co- drivers for the rally - with the SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally and South Carolina Region/SCCA Logos on it - are any indication of the quality of Jonathan Corey shirts, anyone who needs logo t-shirts should specify this brand to their silk screener or ad specialty company.
19. 19 cars completed tech inspection at Martin Pontiac in Cheraw, and 19 cars took the countdown and started the rally from Quincy's family restaurant in Cheraw at 1:01 PM EST in a light drizzle with the temperature standing at 48 degrees F.
20. Everyone made it through the first stage successfully except the #11 Pontiac LeMans of Roland McIvor/Ellen Santarcangelo, which was reported stuck at the beginning of stage #1. McIvor destroyed his Production GT Mitsubishi Eclipse last year at STPR, and is coming back to the circuit this year in a slower Group 2 car.
Press Notes #3 Sand Hills/Sand Blast PRO Rally Round #1 - 1995 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally Series February 11 - 7:30 PM
21. Stage #2 brought its share of mishaps because of the slick clay surfaces that are intermixed with the sand-based roads. If a turn on the forest road is badly rutted or washed out, the forest services clears away the sand and builds the road back up with clay. Organizer Greg Healey had warned the competitors that the sand surface would be likely to grip better because of the week-long rain, but the clay would be slick. The first DNFs, however, left the rally for mechanical problems, not because of the course. The Villemure VW Beetle had an oil leak which driver Mike Villemure figured they could nurse to the service area, but enough oil didn't get to that fabled third cylinder of the world's most famous air-cooled engine, and the powerplant threw a rod. The car finished stage #2, but was forced out of the event.
22. A similar fate brought the Cal Landau/Eric Marcus Mitsubishi Eclipse effort to a standstill as oil leaked out of the filter (they theorize that the filter shook loose) and they were forced to shut the car off early in stage #2.
23. The Ivan Orisek/Olga Orisek Audi Quattro is also out of the event after suffering numerous mechanical ills during the first three stages. The Roland McIvor/Ellen Santarcangelo Pontiac LeMans left the rally with ignition problems.
24. After four stages, 15 of the 19 starters were still running, and the standings looked like this:
Driver/ Vehicle/Class Time Co-Driver (min.1/100)
Paul Choiniere Hyundai Elantra/Open 44.86 Jeff Becker National
Tom Ottey Mazda 323GTX/Open 46.90 Pam McGarvey National/Div.
Bruno Kreibich Audi Quattro/Open 47.50 Rod Hendricksen National
Tad Ohtake Ford Escort/Production 54.73 Bob Martin National/Div.
Jim Anderson Honda Prelude/Prod. 55.38 Ben Greisler National/Div.
Carl Fisher Dodge Omni/Open 55.97 Ted Mendham National/Div.
Edward Mucklow Toyota Celica GTS 56.21 Robert Campbell Divisional
Sylvester Stepniew VW Scirocco 56.96 Adam Pelc Divisional
Leslie Suddard Dodge Charger/Open 60.50 Anne Thomas National/Div.
Gregory Trepetin Honda Prelude/Prod. 62.31 Sonia Trepetin National/Div.
Dick Casey VW GTI/Prod. 62.89 Martin Dapot National/Div.
Richard Grupp Toyota Corolla 63.75 Al Macauley Divisional
Gerry Brinkman VW GTI/Group 2 65.45 Robert Barrall National/Div.
Keith Kreisler Saab 900/Group 2 66.98 Greg Usavage National/Div.
David Ralakis Mazda 323GTX/GT 87.00 Garrett Davis National/Div.
Press Notes #4 Sand Hills/Sand Blast PRO Rally Round #1 - 1995 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally Series February 11 - 9:30 PM
25. Round #1 of the SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally series is now in the books, and, although Paul Choiniere and Jeff Becker scored a well-deserved win in their Open class Hyundai Elantra, this was not the typical Libra Racing win. The motor mounts on the new Hyundai gave the engine too much flex, and the result was a cracked power steering hose (thus, loss of power steering), and a cracked exhaust (thus, a noisy car without power steering). Add to this the hard-charging effort of the Tom Ottey/Pam McGarvey Mazda 323GTX, and Choiniere won the rally by only 40 seconds (official times coming shortly).
"We expect these kind of development problems as we learn about these new systems," said Choiniere, "so we have to go home and rework the motor mount assembly to make sure the engine doesn't have as much flex."
As Ottey expects to be taking delivery of an Open class Elantra soon, and moved his Mazda into the Open class to try to get points in anticipation of that car, this was an important finish for him as well.
Unofficial times show Bruno Kreibich/Rod Hendricksen Audi Quattro third, with the Tad Ohtake/Bob Martin Ford Escort GT fourth (and first in Production) and the Jim Anderson/Ben Greisler Honda Prelude fifth (second in Production).
Other class winners include the Gerry Brinkman/Robert Barrall VW GTI (Group 2) and the David Ralakis/Garrett Davis Mazda 323GTX (Production GT). There were no Group A or Rally Truck entries.
Press Notes #5 Sand Hills/Sand Blast PRO Rally Round #1 - 1995 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally Series February 12 -11:00 AM
26. A couple of corrections from previous weekend notes:
--Note #25 said that David Ralakis/Garrett Davis finished first in the Production GT class. That would have been true, but Ralakis only has a divisional license, so he is not eligible for national points, thus there were no national Production GT finishers.
--Note #8 said that Tom Ottey has bought the ex-Millen Hyundai Elantra from Executive Motors in Jamaica. In fact, Ottey hopes to run the with sponsorship and Executive Motors support, but has not actually bought the car.
27. Stages 5 and 6 turned out to be the undoing of many of the DNF rallyist, with many either being stuck in the mushy sand or sliding off on the slick clay. Here were some of the misfortunes:
--Mucklow/Campbell Toyota Celica - buried to the axle in mud. --Kreisler/Usavage Saab 900 - dead battery/wet ignition. --McIvor/Santarcangelo Pontiac LeMans (allowed to run stage 6 even though had already DNFed) - stuck in the muck. --Fisher/Mendham Dodge Omni - wet ignition
Other DNF details:
--Orisek/Orisek Audi Quattro - broken suspension --Casey/Dapot VW GTI - wet ignition
28. Some of the finishers also had mechanical ills which will have to be fixed the before the next event. They include:
--Trepetin/Trepetin Honda Prelude (put shock through shock tower on stage #3) --Suddard/Thomas Dodge Charger (bent rear axle - stage #4, repaired in service and went on to finish 7th OA.)
29. National points after one round:
Choiniere 12 Ottey 9 Kreibich 7.2 Ohtake 6 Anderson 4.8 Suddard 3.6 Brinkman 2.4 Trepetin 1.8
(Stepniewski and Ralakis - the other finishers - only have divisional licenses are not eligible for national points)
Stage Times - Sand Hills/Sand Blast PRO Rally - 2/11/95
Stage Driver One Two Three Four Five Six Total
Choiniere 7.53 15.15 7.65 15:53 17.06 19.08 82.00
Ottey 7.83 15.09 8.10 15.88 17.03 18.54 82.47
Kreibich 8.17 15.72 8.12 15.52 17.03 18.09 82.65
Ohtake 9.35 17.68 9.38 18.32 18.81 20.49 94.03
Anderson 9.53 18.57 9.35 17.93 19.66 20.88 95.92
Stepniewski 10.22 18.08 10.12 18.84 20.20 21.57 99.03
Suddard 10.22 18.29 9.59 18.40 21.33 21.44 99.27
Brinkman 10.75 21.88 10.92 20.90 24.10 31.01 119.56
Trepietin 11.00 20.16 10.40 20.75 30.10 27.82 120.23
Ralakis 23.57 23.97 14.00 25.46 30.69 31.70 149.39
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SAND HILLS/SAND BLAST PRO RALLY ROUND #1 - 1995 SCCA/MICHELIN PRO RALLY SERIES February 11, 1994 Final Results
Fin. Car Driver/ Hometowns Vehicle/Class Pos # Co-Driver Time (min:sec)
1 1 Paul Choiniere Shelburne, VT Hyundai Elantra/Open Jeff Becker Great Neck, NY 82:00
2 3 Tom Ottey Columbus, OH Mazda 323GTX/Open Pam McGarvey Columbus, OH 82:29
3 2 Bruno Kreibich Ridgewood, NY Audi Quattro/Open Rod Hendricksen Clinton, NJ 82:39
4 66 Tad Ohtake Dearborn, MI Ford Escort/Production Bob Martin Goodrich, MI 94:02
5 13 Jim Anderson Carrboro, NC Honda Prelude/Prod. Ben Greisler Philadelphia, PA 95:56
6 15 Sylvester Stepniewski Keansburg, NJ VW Scirocco/Divisional* Adam Pelc Brooklyn, NY 99:02
7 9 Leslie Suddard Wilmington, DE Dodge Charger/Open Anne Thomas Nashua, NH 99:17
8 17 Gerry Brinkman Freehold, NJ VW GTI/Group 2 Robert Barrall Bethlehem, PA 119:34
9 23 Gregory Trepetin North Potomac, MD Honda Prelude/Prod. Sonia Trepetin North Potomac, MD 120:14
10 10 David Ralakis Parker, TX Mazda 323GTX/Divisional* Garrett Davis Austin, TX 149:24
*Divisional only license holders do not earn national points
4 Cal Landau Coraopolis, PA Mitsubishi Eclipse/GT Eric Marcus Dayton, OH National/Div.
5 Ivan Orisek White Plains, NY Audi Quattro/Open Olga Orisek White Plains, NY National/Div.
19 Raed Almakhtoob Greenville, SC VW Scirocco Andrew Skinner Greenville, SC Divisional (DNS)
7 Mike Villemure Westland, Mich. VW Beetle/Group 2 Rene Villemure Flat Rock, Mich. National/Div.
11 Roland McIvor Beaver Falls, PA Ponitac Lemans/Group 2 Ellen Santarcangelo Beaver Falls, PA National/Div.
6 Carl Fisher Greenville, NH Dodge Omni/Open Ted Mendham Lyndeboro, NH National/Div.
16 Keith Kreisler Collegeville, PA Saab 900/Group 2 Greg Usavage Perkiomenville, PA National/Div.
14 Edward Mucklow St. Albans, WV Toyota Celica GTS Robert Campbell Dunbar, WV Divisional
24 Dick Casey Fairfax Station, VA VW GTI/Prod. Martin Dapot Reston, VA National/Div.
20 Richard Grupp Norcross, GA Toyota Corolla Al Macauley Lawrenceville, GA Divisional
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--------------------------------------------- Ken Beard, Susquehanna MotorSports email@example.com ---------------------------------------------