Mitchell Gets His First Win, Two-Wheel Drive Dodge Nabs Third WELLSBORO, Pa. (June 6, 2004) -- New co-driver? No problem. First time back in three events? No sweat. That's how Irishman Shane Mitchell handled the weekend en route to his ...
Mitchell Gets His First Win, Two-Wheel Drive Dodge Nabs Third
WELLSBORO, Pa. (June 6, 2004) -- New co-driver? No problem. First time back in three events? No sweat. That's how Irishman Shane Mitchell handled the weekend en route to his first ever SCCA ProRally victory as he simply avoided the attrition and penalty points that handcuffed most of the Suquehannock Trail ProRally field.
Mitchell, with co-driver Glenn Patterson, put together one of the cleanest runs of the weekend in his Group N 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX, which enabled him to claim his inaugural win. It was a win that everyone, excluding Mitchell, maybe thought was a bit surprising.
"The plan was to come here and go for it," Mitchell said. "But then [Frank] Sprongl came along with an open class car and we were a bit afraid of that and we knew we'd have a battle with Pat [Richard]. Then Sprongl went away and when we saw him off, we knew we were going to get it one way or another."
Thomas Lawless, with co-driver Jason Gillespie, finished second in his 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution with a time of 2:04:16.9, about two-and-a-half minutes behind Mitchell's 2:01:31.0. Paul Choiniere gave co-driver Cindy Krolikowski her first podium finish ever as he masterfully controlled the Group 5 Team Mopar Dodge 2004 Dodge SRT-4 for the first time and finished third.
"He took to it like a fish to water," said Mopar teammate Doug Shepherd, who led Choiniere for most of the rally in a nip-and-tuck Group 5 battle before suffering a DNF late on Special Stage Eight. "It's really nice to see someone else be able to come out and handle the car and drive it like it's capable of being driven."
Richard came into the weekend hoping to keep his 2004 undefeated streak alive. The streak, which had grown to six counting both Canadian and SCCA events, looked very much alive, even after a rough start, until SS6, when Richard lost his rear breaks. Some roadside inspection onstage revealed a cracked caliper, which led to a nine-minute late check-in, effectively removing him and co-driver Nathalie Richard from contention.
Sprongl, the event's early leader, looked well on his way to securing the victory as the early portion began. But soon after SS5 began, Sprongl's 2000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI motor blew, ending his and co-driver brother Dan's rally.
Attrition chewed a large hole in the ProRally classes, especially after the mid-afternoon break. Just one car finished in each the Group 5 (Choiniere), Group 2 (Brian Houart, with co-driver Eric Heitkamp) and Production GT (Michael Madden, with co-driver Martin O'Flynn) classes. In all, more cars were consumed by the rain-soaked clay roads (18), than finished the rally (17).
STPR will be shown via tape delay on Speed Channel at 4 p.m., Saturday, July 17.
Round Five moves the SCCA ProRally Championship Presented by Hot Wheels® to the Rocky Mountains for the first of two stops in 2004 as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is next on the docket, June 23-26.
For more information about STPR, including full results, and the SCCA ProRally Championship Presented by Hot Wheels, visit www.scca.com.
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