Gingras Rally Sport finishes Top 5 twice on U.P. Rallies
Places 2nd in Central Division ClubRally points for 2003
HOUGHTON, Michigan - Steve Gingras and co-driver Alan Perry managed to finish in the Top Five on the Sports Car Club of America Ottawa and Keweenaw ClubRallys held in conjunction with the Lake Superior ProRally. This despite problems that dropped them from possible wins in both events in their Bloomington Subaru/Act II Popcorn Subaru WRX. A flat tire and subsequent brake problems dropped the GRS Subaru to fourth place on the Friday night Ottawa ClubRally, while a missed turn on Saturday's Keweenaw ClubRally left them stuck off the road for over a minute.
Gingras, who lives in Elk River, Minnesota, considers this and the Ojibwe Forests ProRally in Bemidji, Minnesota, as his home events. He grew up in Marquette, Michigan, and got involved in the sport while a student at Northern Michigan at Marquette.
"I don't know if I can count the number of times I have run some of the stages around Houghton," said Gingras, "so I was feeling pretty confident about our chances to win one or both events. We won the first stage of the Ottawa rally by nine seconds. Unfortunately we had a flat tire on Stage Three and had to drive on it for over eight miles which cost us nearly two minutes. On the final stage of the night, we lost our brakes due to a caliper that had been damaged earlier by running on the flat tire, and that slowed us for an additional minute and a half. We ended up 3 minutes and 47 seconds behind the rally winner, and only two seconds out of third place."
Gingras was able to borrow a caliper from the WRX of a rally worker and had it installed in time to start the Auto Value Keweenaw ClubRally on Saturday morning. "Once again we were on stages that I knew pretty well, but I tried too hard on the final turn of the first stage and slid straight off the road. I jammed the gearbox into reverse and managed to tear all the teeth off reverse gear. We had to get help from some workers to get back on the road, and it took over a minute. We won the next stage, the very fast Delaware Mine stage, but by only one second. We were competitive on the remaining stages, including second fastest on Brockway Mountain, but there was no way to make up the time we had lost. At the end we were one minute 44 seconds behind the winners. And we were only ten seconds out of third place, and four seconds out of fourth place."
Alan Perry (of Bainbridge Island, Washington) filled the co-driver's seat for the second time in the GRS Subaru. Perry has run quite a few events on the West Coast in the past two years, earning a reputation as a top-notch co-driver.
"Alan and I get along well, which makes the driving that much easier," said Gingras.
The two ClubRallys count toward the SCCA Central Division Championship. Gingras finished the 2003 season in second place in CenDiv points. Gingras entered only five of the eight CenDiv Club events held this season, and was the overall winner on three of them. The top three points earners in each class are eligible to participate in the ClubRally National Championships, to be held in February, 2004, in Missouri.
Gingras purchased the Subaru WRX last year and built it into a Performance Rally race car himself with the help of friends. The engine was built by SVS, Inc. of Saginaw, Minnesota.
Steve Gingras is a two-time SCCA Production GT class champion, in 1997 and 1998, driving a Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX. Gingras was also the 1997 CenDiv Champion in class O4 (Open 4WD).
Gingras Rally Sport is sponsored by Bloomington Subaru, ACT II Popcorn, www.Subaru.net, Rally Performance and PIAA Lighting.