ProRally: 1999 Champions Announced

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado — There was a clean sweep of new driver and co-driver champions in the Michelin SCCA ProRally Championship this season. However, there were several familiar faces in the manufacturer championship ranks, along with one...

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado — There was a clean sweep of new driver and co-driver champions in the Michelin SCCA ProRally Championship this season. However, there were several familiar faces in the manufacturer championship ranks, along with one new one. The John Woolf Cup, awarded annually to the series' overall driver champion, went to factory Hyundai Tiburon driver Noel Lawler, who won three of the season's nine events and finished second in another. Hyundai teammate and seven-time US champion Paul Choiniere was runner-up on the year. The Grant Whitaker Cup, which goes to the overall co-driver champion, went to Lawler's navigator, Charlie Bradley. Hyundai teammate and multi-time co-driver champion Jeff Becker finished second. In addition to the Woolf and Whitaker cups, the two men from the land of shamrocks also won the Open Class driver and co-driver championships, respectively. The Woodner Cup, symbolic of the top performances throughout the season by two-wheel-drive competitors, is awarded to both the top driver and the top co-driver. This year, the cup went to the independent husband-and-wife team of Henry and Cindy Krolikowski, who drove a Dodge Shadow GT. They won Group 5 four times in a hard-fought, come-from-behind charge that won Henry the driver's crown and Cindy the co-driver's. The road to the Woodner Cup also took the Krolikowskis to the Group 5 driver and co-driver championships. To get there, they had to overtake the factory Toyota Supra Turbo of defending class champions Ralph Kosmides (driver) and Joe Noyes (co-driver). In each instance, the margin was just two points. Every year, the Donison Cup goes to the Production Class champion. Independent Karl Scheible handily won the title this season, driving first a Volkswagen Golf GTi and then the first Volkswagen New Beetle to compete anywhere in the US. The honors for Production co-driver champion went to Scheible's navigator, Gail McGuire, as the duo took one win with the Golf, then three wins, a second and a third with the New Beetle. Factory Daewoo team members Peter Malaszuk (driver) and Darek Szerejko (navigator) finished second on a limited schedule. The Production GT driver championship went to independent Mazda 323 GTX driver Gail Truess. Truess, who also is a PPG Pace Car driver, won the class in both Washington-state events, en route to becoming ProRally's first female driver champion. Independent Subaru Impreza driver Lee Shadbolt finished second. Shadbolt's navigator, Claire Chizma, worked very hard for the win and two seconds that secured her the Production co-driver crown. Divisional steward John Dillon was the runner-up in the season-long battle. The fight in Group 2 was every bit as heated as in the other classes, but that didn't stop Honda Civic driver Bryan Hourt from helping chief rival Bill Malik (Volvo 240) repair his car and finish an event late in the season. Hourt still won the Group 2 driver championship, with Malik second. Hourt's regular navigator, Pete Cardimen, had to miss an event, which made the race even tighter for the co-driver title. However, he was able to edge out Malik's navigator, Christian Edstrom, for the championship by just four points. Among the manufacturers, there were several repeat winners, plus one fast-moving newcomer. On the strength of overall victories by Noel Lawler and Charlie Bradley, Paul Choiniere and Jeff Becker, and John Buffum and Lance Smith, Hyundai once again was the overall manufacturer champion, with Toyota runner-up. Those same strong performances that won the overall honors also powered Hyundai to the Open Class title as well, with Subaru finishing second in that category. In the fight for supremacy among two-wheel-drive vehicles, Toyota won the overall 2WD crown. This was the result of three wins and two seconds in Group 5 by Ralph Kosmides and Joe Noyes in their Supra Turbo. Fast-paced newcomer Daewoo finished second. The points racked up by Kosmides and Noyes also carried Toyota to the manufacturers' championship in Group 5. A win in California and strong showings elsewhere by drivers Lee Shadbolt and Canadian Patrick Richard were all that Subaru needed. Their performances in all-wheel-drive Imprezas carried Subaru to the Production GT manufacturers' championship. The newest member of the ProRally manufacturers' circle ended its hectic first season with a championship. Running a limited schedule, Daewoo took home the Production Class title. This came on the strength of impressive showings by Peter Malaszuk and Darek Szerejko in a factory-backed Nubira that entered the championship at mid-season.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Paul Choiniere , Jeff Becker , Ralph Kosmides , Joe Noyes , Bill Malik , Christian Edstrom , Peter Malaszuk , Lance Smith , Patrick Richard , John Buffum