SCCAÃ‚Â® ProRallysm Championship - Round 2 - Cherokee Trails Day Two Results and News Buffum, Tuthill battle it out Chattanooga, TN: The second day of competition at the International Cherokee Trails Rally brought rapid-fire surprise ...
SCCAÂ® ProRallysm Championship - Round 2 - Cherokee Trails Day Two Results and News Buffum, Tuthill battle it out
Chattanooga, TN: The second day of competition at the International Cherokee Trails Rally brought rapid-fire surprise retirements and field reshufflings, but through it all Mitsubishi pilot Tuthill and USA Rally legend and Hyundai team boss Buffum remained the forces to be reckoned with.
Prodrive Troubles: Early into the days activities, both Prodrive entries suffered terminal mechanical problems that eliminated both cars from the rally. Early into SS7, Scheible's Impreza suffered from a blown head gasket - an end result of intermittent overheating heating problem that began early in Day 1. Later, in the same stage, Lovell's Impreza was sidelined with terminal transmission problems. His service crew was aware of the problem, and was prepared to complete the transmission swap during the 20-minute service scheduled immediately following the stage, but Lovell was unable to drive the car back under its own power.
Noel Lawler and Charles Bradley's round of good luck on Day One on SS8 while the duo were in second place nipping at Tuthill's heels when the Irishmen had an off which left the car stuck and unable to continue.
Also on the surprise retirement list is Rhys Millen, who failed to restart today. The transmission problems he was dealing with in Day 1 were terminal, and spares couldn't be located to effect repairs.
With a keen eye to repeating or improving on their January podium finish at the Sno*Drift event, Seamus Burke and Frank Cunningham are in a solid 3rd overall position with a ten minute lead over the nearest class competitors Tim Patterson and Scott Ferguson.
The mechanical attrition of this event, while being a misfortune for some, has moved several independent teams into the top-ranking limelight, many for their first time. The car 116 team of Thomas Lawless and Brian Sharkey, who purchased Burke's 97 Evo IV at the Sno*Drift awards banquet in January have wasted no time as establishing themselves as players in the FIA Group N category, currently leading the class and placed fourth in overall competition.
Richard Tuthill,. Whose performance at his debut US event has impressed all, was clearly pleased with his driving, was also mindful that the competition was very real. "At every stage today, I would wait at the finish to get an idea of my competitor's timesI never had to wait long - everyone seemed to be right there - Lawler, and now Buffum, are giving me quite the run."
The California based team of Lauchlin O'Sullivan and John Dillon are doing well in their first event of the season, steadily drawing out a twelve minute lead over East Coast favorites Gail Truess and Pattie Hughes-Mayer. O'Sullivan is also currently seventh overall.
After finishing a distant second place in Group 5 in Day 1, Bryan Hourt has gained significant time on class leader Andrew Havas and is now in striking distance of taking the Gr5 lead going into Day 3.
In Group 2, a10-minute window reminiscent of Sno*Drift in January has appeared - only this time its Eric Burmeister at the far end of the time stick. The local to Chattanooga team of Randy Bailey and Will Perry are showing some 'home town advantage' on these Tennessee back roads, stretching out a comfortable lead.
There are many internationally based members of the global performance rally community that have flown to Chattanooga to observe the first SCCA international event in thirteen years, and all have come away impressed with the overall quality of the venue. Said one: "Discussions with several drivers have told me that the roads here are as good as any found in the world and that Chattanooga makes for an excellent host city."
Included in the overseas contingent is an observer from Mitsubishi Ralliart/Spain - who arrived at the event today with a new awards program for US based driver's of the company's Lancer Evo series of performance rally cars.
The Final Day of the Int. Cherokee Trails Rally begins at 8 am and will run a shorter schedule than the first two, with rally activity wrapping up at approximately 4:30 pm, with a podium finish in downtown Chattanooga.