Pikes Peak race report

Unser Furious About Race Tires Robby Unser was irate after finishing his run in the 82nd Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Race officials would not allow Unser to run the mud tires he had on his car at the start line and was made...

Unser Furious About Race Tires

Robby Unser was irate after finishing his run in the 82nd Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Race officials would not allow Unser to run the mud tires he had on his car at the start line and was made to switch to the same make and type of tire he used during qualifications per race rules.

"It's stupid, I'm not going to like it, I'm not going to say anything good about it. The only thing I'm going to say anything good about is my car, my sponsors and the effort that was put into it. I don't know how I'm going to go down and face Gunnar and my team with that run with what they let me run with. "

Q: Is if fair to say that you see this as a safety issue not being allowed to change to mud tires on race day?

Unser: "Completely a safety issue! I don't understand, I almost went off six or seven times. I'm good up here, this shouldn't be happening. I'm telling you I'm pissed off, this is stupid. I thought we were trying to save this race. I do not understand it! I am not going to keep my mouth shut, I am not going to be mister nice boy and go away like everyone wants me to. It's pissing me off and I'm going to say something about it. The people down there, the race fans, I know you guys want to see a fast race. I know you want to see the dirt turned up. So maybe on the way down you all might want to yell at some of them officials to make some better changes. To be quite honest this is for you guys. I'm embarrassed to be up here with that run. And up until this point this week this has been the most fun I've ever had on Pikes Peak. The fans greeted me all the way up, God bless ya I love all of you."

Unser's unofficial race time was 11:47.25 making him the overall winner of the Pikes Peak Open Class.

1Weather Rears Its Ugly Head at Pikes Peak

Mother nature played its hand at the 82nd running of the Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Rain, lightning, hail, wind and snow resulted in a 2½ hour delay in the race. Over an inch of snow and hail was reported on the road on the upper portions of the course. At that time race officials concluded it was too dangerous to race to the summit of Pikes Peak so it was determined that Glen Cove would serve as the finish line. The change affected Truck & SUV, Super Stock, Mini Sprints, Open Wheel, Unlimited and Big Truck classes. This marks the first time the distance of the race has been shortened since 1995 when the finish line was just above 16-mile.

The weather also cancelled the 5th stage of the SCCA event.

The following are comments from Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Director Phil Layton. These come in response to statements Pikes Peak Open racer Robby Unser made to the press at the summit after his run this morning.

Layton read from the Pikes Peak Open Division Technical Regulations and Special Rules section of the PPIHC 2004 Official Rule Book which was published and effective on October 15, 2003: "'All competitors must race on the same tire model, size and brand which were used to qualify.' (Unser) presented to the line a different model, different size and a different brand. There was no mention at the drivers' meeting of an opportunity for anybody, not just Robby Unser, to change their tires because of the road conditions that we had. The rules are black and white. There was no request prior to him starting to change it. He presented to the line with illegal tires. He was told to remove the tires if he wanted to run, put the other tires on: same size, same brand, same model (as those he used to qualify) or force being disqualified. He got to the top, decided to air his displeasure over that ruling." At that, Layton again referred to the rulebook, which also sets the rules for events sponsored by the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb Educational Museum. He read rule 9.14.1: "'The vehicle owner or authorized agent can be held responsible for the behavior of all members of his/her crew during any PPAHCEM sanctioned event. Vehicle owners or authorized agents will be responsible to have read, understand, and adhere to those rules and regulations published in this Rule Book.'" He then read rule 9.14.2: "'Improper Language or Conduct: Any competitor, vehicle entrant, attendant, or any other participant, who, at any time or in any place, shall use improper language to the Stewards, the Director of Competition, or any other official or any officers or members of the PPAHCEM, or be guilty of any improper conduct toward such officers or persons serving under their orders, such improper language or conduct having reference to acts and things connected with the administration of the course or any competition thereon, may be assessed a fine, or be excluded, and may be further penalized as provided herein. This includes quotes, comments and published releases to the public and media. It is expected that all participants will not express their complaints to the media prior to discussing same with the PPAHCEM. Public comment should be professional, non-inflammatory and limited to their performance in the event. Any derogatory public conduct at any time may result in a fine or exclusion from further participation in the event.' The vehicle owner is Mr. Koseki. The authorized agent is Gunnar Heuberger. I fined Gunnar Heuberger $2,500 for Mr. Unser's conduct on the summit of Pikes Peak."


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About this article
Series Hillclimb
Drivers Robby Unser