Hyundai Scores One-Two Win at Ojibwe Forests Pro Rally -- Paul Choiniere Regains Driver's Championship Points Lead -- FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Defending SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally champion Paul ...
Hyundai Scores One-Two Win at Ojibwe Forests Pro Rally
-- Paul Choiniere Regains Driver's Championship Points Lead --
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Defending SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally champion Paul Choiniere fought back from a three minute deficit to take the win by a mere eight seconds in round seven of the 1997 Series Championship at the recent Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally. John Buffum, owner of Libre Racing, drove the teams 1996 championship Hyundai Elantra to a second place finish in the 13 stage event. Although essentially retired from competitive driving, Buffum, the winningest driver in U.S. rally history, is still considered one of the fastest in the sport. "The competition is really stiff this season," explained Buffum. "Last year we had the championship pretty much locked-in by this time. We've had some bad mechanical luck this season and by entering a second Hyundai we are hoping to increase out chance to retain the manufacturer's championship." Choiniere is poised to clinch his sixth straight national title in 1997 -- his third for Hyundai. The team won in their first outing with the all-new Hyundai Tiburon at the Doo Wop III & IV Rally and again at the Wild West Rally. But, a victory celebration eluded the team the last three outings. Over the past two seasons the team has delivered two driver's championships and, in 1996, captured for Hyundai the coveted manufacturer's championship. With this win Choiniere regained first place in the driver's points, with a five point lead over second place Henry Joy, and is within striking distance of retaking the manufacturer's points lead (Mitsubishi 89/Hyundai 79). Because of the concentration required to constantly drive on the edge, Choiniere prefers not to think about battles during an event. "The championship is a combination of ten events," he explained. "You have to look at the big picture before going off the road to make up a minute or two." So far, Choiniere's racing philosophy seems to be working. With three races remaining on the 1997 schedule, he's got his sites set firmly on a sixth consecutive driver's championship and a second manufacturer's championship for Hyundai. Hyundai Motor America, based in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai cars are distributed in the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through nearly 500 dealerships nationwide.. SOURCE Hyundai Motor America -0- 08/28/97