ProRally: Oregon Trail: Metalmarks Rally Team summary

Blown gasket sidelines Metalmarks team on Day One HILLSBORO, Oregon - A blown head gasket put an early end to the Metalmarks Rally Team effort at the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Oregon Trail ProRally. The engine overheated on the...

Blown gasket sidelines Metalmarks team on Day One

HILLSBORO, Oregon - A blown head gasket put an early end to the Metalmarks Rally Team effort at the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Oregon Trail ProRally. The engine overheated on the second competitive stage of the event, causing the Metalmarks Volkswagen Golf IV to lose power. Driver Chris Havas was able to nurse the car into the scheduled service following the stage, but there was insufficient time to make repairs.

"To drop out so early was quite a disappointment," said team driver and owner, Chris Havas. "This was the first time I had run the Oregon Trail and I was looking forward to the challenge. I loved the roads, at least the two I did get a chance to run. Dave (co-driver Dave Kean) said those weren't the best of them, so I guess I'll have to look forward to running there again. Fortunately the repairs should be fairly easy so we will be ready in time for the Maine Forest Rally in a couple of weeks."

Havas and Kean were the fastest of the two-wheel drive cars on the first stage, which was over 14 miles in length. They were faster than all but six of the all-wheel drive rally specials entered at Oregon, and were four seconds ahead of local driver Scott Fuller, also in a Volkswagen. Though Havas was taking it easy due to the engine running hot, they remained competitive on the next stage, placing third among the 2WD cars. They were able to make it to the service area, where the diagnosis was that the thermostat was not opening, so coolant was unable to circulate through the engine.

"I really appreciate the help that was offered so far away from home," said Havas, who lives in Vermont. "Peter Van Bogart of Cascade Autosport in North Bend, Washington, lent us use of his shop prior to the event so we could give the car a once over following Pikes Peak."

The Metalmarks rally steed is a current chassis VW Golf with a 1.8-liter turbo engine. It runs in the Group 5 class, which is for two-wheel drive cars with turbocharged engines, or normally aspirated engines between 2.4 liters and 6.9 liters. Though the basic chassis must be from a production car, modifications to the engine, transmission and suspension are allowed.

The class victory and first place points went to Doug Shepherd and Pete Gladyz in a Dodge SRT-4. Havas and Shepherd are now tied for fourth place in points at 24 apiece, but only 6 points behind class co-leaders Brian Vinson and Dave Hinz. Havas and Kean took the VW to a Group 5 win at the Susquehannock Trails ProRally in Pennsylvania early in June.

The next event on the Metalmarks Rally Team schedule is the Maine Forest ProRally on August 1-2. Havas and Kean were the Group 5 winners at Maine in 2002. There are three more events following Maine on the 2003 ProRally Championship schedule.

-mrt-

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Series SCCA