Hankook's Driver Matt Johnson Snags Third Place Overall Win At Ojibwe Forests Rally Bemidji, MN (August 26, 2006) Hankook Tire driver Matthew Johnson won his first overall podium finish in his career at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Northern ...
Hankook's Driver Matt Johnson Snags Third Place Overall Win At Ojibwe Forests Rally
Bemidji, MN (August 26, 2006) Hankook Tire driver Matthew Johnson won his first overall podium finish in his career at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Northern Minnesota. Hankook Tire is delighted to have their tires on the overall podium of the highly competitive Rally America National Championship for the first time.
Matthew Johnson and co-driver Kim DeMotte rounded out the podium in his bright orange Production GT Subaru - his highest ever overall finish. Johnson began the rally Friday night with a modest performance as he struggled with his suspension settings. As the second leg of the rally began on Saturday morning, Johnson was back up to speed and trading stage times with Production GT rival and Hankook Tire sponsored Tanner Foust.
Foust, however, had a comfortable margin from his hard work on Friday night's stages. As the rally wore on near the end the tables would turn in a 22 mile long special stage, the longest of the rally. While admittedly aiming to slow his pace slightly to ensure the win, bad luck struck the Flatiron's team of Foust/Beavis as they encountered a very large rock and ripped off a front wheel leaving them stranded on stage to do repairs. Johnson was next on the scene and while nearly missing the rock on the road recognized his luck as he inherited the lead.
"This was a character building event for me, I came here looking for a win and ready to run at the front. When I couldn't get myself situated with the car's handling to keep up at the front on Friday I realized the smart thing to do was to try out different set ups and treat this as a learning event and keep the pressure on Tanner as best I could. I recognized my luck as I passed Tanner on the side of Stage 16 taking the lead in PGT and third overall. After being the unlucky one at Maine a couple weeks ago I'll take it! That's one of the great things about rallying, you just never know what's going to happen next!" offered a buoyant Johnson
Jeff Koehler, Hankook Motorsports Marketing Manager was extremely proud to be at this event. At every event it is a battle between these two I am always happy to see Matt or Tanner on the podium. I never expected a third place overall for Matt, it was a great surprise."
When asked about the biggest contribution to his victory Johnson replied, "even while my suspension was getting dialed in I could always rely on my Hankook rally tires. They gave the 'turn-in' that I needed to stay on line, even on the loose stuff."
Hankook drivers continued to fill the podium all night. Chris Gilligan and co-driver Joe Peterson came in third in Open Class. Eric Langbein and Jeremy Wimpey placed second in PGT Class and Kathy Jarvis and Martin Headland finished first in P Class.