ProRally: Lake Superior: Day one notes

Higgins Brothers dominate. HOUGHTON, Michigan Cold damp and snowy conditions defined day one of the Lake Superior Rally, the longest rally in the SCCA ProRally Championship, as all teams fought not only for road position, but also with numb ...

Higgins Brothers dominate.

HOUGHTON, Michigan Cold damp and snowy conditions defined day one of the Lake Superior Rally, the longest rally in the SCCA ProRally Championship, as all teams fought not only for road position, but also with numb fingers, often near-zero visibility, and some of the slipperiest road conditions of the season. At the end of this very long night, 2002 Driver Champion David Higgins, and Hyundai works challenger Mark Higgins, are the ones making the most of this exceedingly tough rally.

Key Notes and Quotes:

* After 3 years of relatively clear event-day weather, Lake Superior has regained its reputation for being the "Oldest, Toughest, Meanest" event by throwing a variety of conditions at the competitors. Drivers have been commenting on the various patches of muddy and hard roads and have had to adjust their driving and tire strategy, especially during the later evening stages. Despite the demanding conditions, at the end of the night 75 cars still remain eligible to start day two of the original 83.

* Tires choices were exceedingly varied, as the mostly slippy, sometimes frozen, and sometimes very wet conditions caused many teams to experiment stage to stage with different compounds, pressures, and brands and types. With several stages run twice, conditions experienced on the first run frequently were completely different the second time around.

* By SS5, the manufacturers championship became Hyundai's to lose - with both of Subaru's nominated cars beset with minor, but delaying problems: Lagemann with a failed halfshaft in SS2, Lovell with a bad tire choice on one stage, and Jonny Milner excluded from the event for speeding on a transit, Hyundai suddenly found itself in a position to relax

* That was short-lived however, when a very sore-armed Mark Higgins' returned to service after running nearly 2 stages without power steering, (a pump replacement got him back going again) and Paul Choiniere's Tiburon rear crossmember collapsed on a particularly rough section of SS6, having to carefully negotiate the full length of SS7 to get the car back to service for a complete replacement.

* Production class favorite Michael Halley, and his "Stud-Bug" - always a crowd favorite since its days as a star in a Volkswagen TV commercial with Karl Scheible 99 Production class champion, ended its rally in SS7 embedding itself in some trees while leading the class.

* Even with the Manufacturers' Championship down to a two-team race, and the driver's championship decided, many non-championship contending teams could become a factor. Rhys Millen and Seamus Burke are ahead of the second Hyundai, which could be very important later in the rally. The Hyundai's need a 4th place finish to assure themselves the manufacturer's championship trophy regardless of where the Subaru's finish. Team Hyundai says they are happy with the early stages and are just playing it safe while hoping to move Paul Choiniere into the important 4th position and giving themselves some breathing room.

-scca pro racing-

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Paul Choiniere , Seamus Burke , Rhys Millen , Mark Higgins