COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Not even the sun was fast enough to beat the stream of competitors and fans who flocked to Pikes Peak for the second and final day of practice before Saturday's 81st Run to the Clouds at the Falken Tires Pikes Peak ...
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Not even the sun was fast enough to beat the stream of competitors and fans who flocked to Pikes Peak for the second and final day of practice before Saturday's 81st Run to the Clouds at the Falken Tires Pikes Peak International Hillclimb and the fourth round of the 2003 SCCA ProRally Championship.
In front of fans, the competitors made several runs during the three-hour practice session with many getting at least three. The day was especially important for Group N, as the final starting order was determined by Friday's times. Even though the Open class teams had determined their start order based on Thursday's runs, every team in the complete, 16-team field took advantage of the chance to run the second half ( from Cove Creek to the 14,000-ft. summit) of the 12-mile stage.
With all practice and qualifying sessions now complete in every race category, the SCCA ProRally group is poised to leave a large imprint on the event overall (in just their second year at the PPIHC) as both Mitsubishi driver David Higgins and Subaru driver Mark Lovell posted times among the four fastest overall. Their times of 5:10.95 and 5:10.23, respectively, were just over six seconds behind Open Wheel entrants and Hillclimb veterans, Paul Dallenbach (5:03.74) and Jimmy Keeney (5:04.17).
Late Breaking News:
* Weather: The mountain has cooperated beautifully every day with sunny to partly cloudy skies in each of the practice mornings. The weather is expected to hold and be mostly sunny Saturday morning then becoming partly cloudy. There is a 30-percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon, but with the SCCA cars scheduled to run at 10 A.M. and be done by 10:45, weather should not be a factor. Temperatures should be in the 50s by the time the SCCA cars run. No major wind is expected either.
* Doug Shepherd took a turn too tight and ran into a boulder on his very first run on Friday, blowing out a tire and damaging the right-front rim. The car didn't suffer any damage and will be ready to go on Saturday.
* Open class entry Doug Havir came into the weekend battling engine problems in his Subaru Impreza WRX-Sti and after several attempts to alleviate the problems, was unable to get his car into competitive condition. Subsequently, Havir pulled out of the competition immediately after Friday's practice session.
* Open Class entry Leon Styles' car, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 6.5, had mechanical problems about an hour into the morning practice session on Thursday. However, Styles said the car has been evaluated and should be ready to go on Saturday.
* Subaru's Mark Lovell has had an up-and-down weekend. He posted the fastest time of all Rally cars and will start last (a unique feature of the PPIHC is an inverted start order) on Saturday. But during the second run of Friday morning, Lovell's car lost its turbo, a necessity at the PPIHC. Lovell's crew repaired the car and he is expected to run as scheduled on Saturday.
-scca pro racing-