Pike Peak Tuesday Practice Report

HILL CLIMB AUTO/TRUCK COMPETITORS PRACTICE ON THE PEAK COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 29,1999) - More than 60 auto and truck competitors practiced in the early morning hours today on Pikes Peak in preparation for the 1999 Pikes Peak...


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 29,1999) - More than 60 auto and truck competitors practiced in the early morning hours today on Pikes Peak in preparation for the 1999 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The 77th Annual "Race to the Clouds" is slated for July 4 on the Pikes Peak Highway near Colorado Springs.

More than one competitor commented that road conditions seemed much faster than in previous years.

"It's a little more slippery than I expected. We didn't get the testing times we wanted, but we have a very committed crew and over the next few days I'm sure we'll get the truck up to speed," said defending unlimited champion Rod Millen of Newport Beach, Calif. "The goal is not only to win but to break the record."

Millen, a New Zealand native, holds the Hill Climb record with a time of 10:04.06, which he set in 1994. He posted the day's fastest practice time on the Hill, driving the lower third of the course in 3:10.04.

Japan's Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima, Millen's top rival in the unlimited division, plans to spend the afternoon making modifications to his Suzuki/1996 Side Kick.

"It's amazing. The course is very fast because there's less gravel and more pavement this year," he said. "Today we had a little problem so I have to go back to the workshop and fix it this afternoon. If the car is okay I think we can do it [win the race] but I need to get it fixed."

High performance showroom stock driver Jimmy Adams III of Suffolk, Va., drove his Dodge/1998 Viper for the first time on the Peak this morning.

"The road was pretty good but there was a little bit of inconsistency. I'm trying to work out the correct tire combination," said the 27-year-old three-time SCCA champion and record holder. "I just need a little more seat time. This car runs really good on asphalt. It's yet to be seen how we'll do on the Hill, but we'll give it our best."

Auto and truck competitor practice runs will be held from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, June 30, on the Pikes Peak Highway. Class 8 trucks and sprints will practice from the start line. The following divisions will practice from the middle section of the course: unlimited, open wheel, Pikes Peak open, and high performance showroom stock. Practicing from the top section: super stock truck, pro truck, electric, and super stock car. A complete schedule of the week's Hill Climb events follows this release.

Tickets for the 1999 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb are available online at http://www.ppihc.com, the Hill Climb Auto Educational Museum in Manitou Springs, King Soopers throughout Colorado, Tire Centers Inc. in Colorado Springs, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Colorado Springs military installations.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is held annually on July 4 in cooperation with the City of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Forest Service. The Race attracts an international field of auto, truck, and motorcycle competitors. Its 12.42-mile course on a groomed gravel highway to the 14,110 ft. summit of Pikes Peak is open to the public.

The event is presented by ADT Automotive. Other sponsors include Pennzoil, Pirelli Tire, Toyota Motor Sales USA, The Robert Bosch Corporation, Rex Tire of Colorado Springs, Ultra Wheel Co., Contract Freighters, Inc., Kenworth, and Barnett Tool. The Hill Climb is the principal fund raising event for the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb Educational Museum.


Millen on Winning..."There's always fear, but you have to overcome it. You've got to feel confident in your car, stay focused on the road and the next sequence of corners. You never want to forget where you are and lose your place on the mountain."

Laughing All the Way to the Top...Millen's 1999 Toyota Tacoma is fueled by nitrous oxide, which in lay terms is known as laughing gas.

Japanese Following..."Monster" Tajima noted that the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has a tremendous following in Japan. "I think the Hill Climb is more popular in Japan than in the U.S. There, everybody knows about it and Japanese television is going to do a one-hour show on my endeavors here."

Luck of the Draw...High performance showroom stock driver Andrew Kalman (San Francisco, Calif.) will drive a 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight at the '99 Hill Climb. Kalman won the car in a raffle, which he announces with his "25BUCKS" license plate. Interestingly, it was the first BMW to reach the summit of Pikes Peak when Kalman drove it in 1998, his rookie year. "This car is so well balanced that it doesn't want to do what you need it to do on a dirt road," he commented after today's practice on the Peak. "I'm starting out slow, but by the end of our third practice day I should be happy with myself."

PRACTICE TIMES FROM JUNE 29 -PARTIAL LIST (REMAINING TIMES WILL BE POSTED LATER TODAY AT WWW.PPIHC.COM) (times from multiple practice runs over 1/3 of course) Competitors Listed in Pre-Established Qualifying Order

High Performance Showroom Stock 1. David Donner, Subaru/1998 Impreza, Colorado Springs, Colo., 04:03.72, 8:18.30, 3:50.70, 3:48.88. 2. Rhys Millen, Nissan Skyline GTR, Newport Beach, Calif., 4:04.20, 3:59.90, 3:55.06. 3. Blake Fuller, Honda/Civic, Sarasota, Fla., 05:16.50, 5:10.80, 5:08.90, 5:15.92. 4. Jeff Zwart, Porsche/1998 Turbo-S, Woody Creek, Colo., 04:05.91, 4:48.00, 4:05.60, 3:57.69. 5. James Adams III, Dodge/1998 Viper, Suffolk, Va., 04:25.10, 4:18.10, 4:14.03. 6. Kenji Momota,Toyota/1993 Supra, Garland, Texas, 05:11.53. 7. Andrew Kalman, BMW/1995 M3 Lightweight, San Francisco, Calif., 04:43.20, 04:34.20, 4:28.58.

Open Wheel 1. Keith Harper, Wells/1981 Coyote, Manitou Springs, Colo., 04:28.20, 3:59.76.

Pikes Peak Open 1. Shigeo Sugaya, Subaru/1998 Impreza SRX, Japan, 4:31.90, 4:28.30, 4:21.50. 2. Paul Choiniere, Hyundai/1999 Tiburon, Shelburne, Vt., 3:58.70, 3:49.90, 3:51.50, 3:50.80. 3. Kahee Namikawa, Subaru/1995 GC8, Japan, 04:27.40, 4:07.54. 4. Andrew Bornhop, Hyundai/1996 Elantra, Orange, Calif., 04:34.30, 4:22.60, 4:13.40, 4:05.59. 5. Masaki Ohashi, Mitsubishi/1998 Lancer, Japan, 04:56.70, 3:57.86, 6. 03:51.06. 7. Jean Pierre Richelmi, Alfa-Lancia/Delta Integrale, Monaco, 4:06.50, 4:21.44, 3:49.06.

Unlimited 1. Rod Millen, Toyota/1999 Tacoma, Newport Beach, Calif., 03:23.00, 3:17.70, 3:15.10, 3:10.04.

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Series Hillclimb
Drivers Paul Choiniere , Rhys Millen , Jeff Zwart , David Donner , Rod Millen , Blake Fuller