SCCAÂ® ProRallysm Championship Round 2 - Rim of the World PALMDALE, California A record starting lineup of 80 performance rally cars (with a waiting list) from North America and the world are slated to begin the two-day Rim of the World Rally...
SCCA® ProRallysm Championship Round 2 - Rim of the World
PALMDALE, California A record starting lineup of 80 performance rally cars (with a waiting list) from North America and the world are slated to begin the two-day Rim of the World Rally at 7:00 PM Friday evening, following an open to the public Parc Expose of all the rally cars at the Peloma Park in Palmdale. The rally cars return to Palmdale after midnight, and restart the second day of rallying at noon on Saturday, following a morning of rally festivities including a charity auction and second Parc Expose of all the cars entered.
Selected Entries, News
* The long break since Round 1 in January has been very well spent by many of the teams in preparation of the brutal mid-season schedule with the SCCA ProRally Championship making up for lost time in the spring with five back-to-back events with transcontinental trips between most in July and August (Pikes Peak, Oregon Trail, Maine Forest, Ojibwe Forests and Wild West). Rim of the World, by virtue of its one-month break before Round 3 - Susquehannock Trail in June, is serving up its famously brutal road conditions as a shake down for the rest of the Championship. If a car survives here, it's likely to have the mettle to survive the rest of the season.
* Subaru/Prodrive, coming off a character building 2002, and a disastrous season start at Sno*Drift, needs a great weekend here to kick start their program - and are poised to do just that with all-new cars and a substantially revised servicing layout. The cars that are making their world competition debut today did well in this week's extensive testing, with nary a hint of the engine and transmission troubles that plagued the team throughout the 2002 season, allowing Prodrive's technicians to focus on suspension setup for the best compromise on Rim's rough roads. The 2001 driver/co-driver champion team of Mark Lovell and Steve Turvey, reunited here this weekend, finished 2nd at Rim last year, following a dramatic downhill roll-over on Day One which left the car a wrinkled mess, but sharpened their resolve for a strong finish. Teammate Ramana Lagemann with Michael Orr, following his successful World Rally debut at New Zealand in April, are ready for a strong finish as well.
* Mitsubishi also had a difficult showing here last year, but is on a roll with their all-new Lancer Evolutions, leading the manufacturers' and driver's championships. This will be their first time up against the all-new Subarus, and if they are quick out of the box, a two-day long sprint race can be expected. Both drivers have a great leading hand here - David Higgins won here last year in his debut at Rim, and teammate Lauchlin O'Sullivan returns to his home event; last year he was the top finishing two-wheel drive car, winning his class for Mitsubishi, finishing12th overall.
* Group N will be one of the supporting classes to watch this weekend. The closely-matched all-wheel drive and turbocharged Subarus and Mitsubishis, are only allowed minimal modifications from showroom stock condition, making them ideal for Rim's tight, twisty ridge-top roads. The teams are from all over the USA, with class leaders Mark Utecht and Jeff Secor from Minnesota, Shane Mitchell and Paul Donnelly from New York, Mark Cox and Jim Gill from Colorado, and making his season debut, Newport Beach, CA native Ralph Kosmides with Michigan's Jimmy Brandt.
* Weather forecast: the conditions this weekend are a nearly 180-degree switch from last year, when tinder dry conditions were the greatest concern. Ample rains in the past weeks have turned the typically grey mountains a lush green, and dust, at least for the first cars on the road, will be minimal. Rain remains in the forecast for much of the weekend, but now only scattered showers with cool daytime and chilly evening temperatures are expected.
The SCCA ProRally Championship is presented by Mitsubishi and Subaru, and is televised in North America on SpeedChannel. Time and date listing information available at www.speedtv.com
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