ProRally: Maine Forest: Day one notes

Series leader David Higgins challenged, Lovell leads. RUMFORD, Maine With entrants and observers comparing several of today's thrilling and blindingly fast stages to the Thousand Lakes WRC event in Finland, Day One of the 2002 Maine Forest...

Series leader David Higgins challenged, Lovell leads.

RUMFORD, Maine With entrants and observers comparing several of today's thrilling and blindingly fast stages to the Thousand Lakes WRC event in Finland, Day One of the 2002 Maine Forest Rally ended on a high note for manufacturers and many independent entrants.

Key Notes and Quotes:

* Streaking through the prodigious dust first was Subaru's Mark Lovell, fresh from his victory at Pikes Peak, was visibility thrilled with his finish - remarking that his Subaru 'has never run better' - despite what Prodrive has called a "precautionary" 17-minute transmission swap at the mid-point service.

* Has his luck run out? Championship leader David Higgins had a difficult first night, suffering a puncture on SS2, returning to service with his right front wheel worn down to just the hub, sparks flying, loosing two and a half minutes in the process. A victim of Higgins' misfortune was Paul Choiniere, losing some 40 seconds as he tried to slice through the thick dust left in the wake of the wounded Subaru.

* Jonny Milner, experiencing his first US rally is very impressed with both the roads, and the stage notes that describe them. The Briton executed a significant 'leap' over a crest on SS4, which resulted in an even more significant landing that flattened his exhaust, is otherwise very happy with his 6th place drive in his Prodrive supplied WRX, curiously running with a mere 32mm restrictor in this 40mm restrictor class.

* The ever growing and fiercely competitive Group N category has Tim O'Neil leading by 2 tenths over Brendan Cunningham. Not a single Group N car has retired, and the entire 12-car class has just a 2-minute spread between them.

* The expected Group 2 battle, despite being only 20 minutes into this rally, is shaping up to be quite a row, with Washington's Scott Fuller leading over Lauchlin O'Sullivan, who was slowed by a puncture in SS3, by just 3 tenths of a minute, with James Robinson just 2 tenths behind him.

Web sites:
* SCCA ProRally: www.sccaprorally.org/
* SCCA Maine Forest ProRally: www.maineforestrally.com

The SCCA name and logo is a registered trademark of the Sports Car Club of America, Inc. ProRally, ClubRally and RallyCross are service marks of the SCCA.

The SCCA ProRally Championship is presented by Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Subaru, and is televised in North America on SpeedChannel. Time and date listing information available at www.speedtv.com

-scca pro rally-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Paul Choiniere , Mark Lovell , Tim O'Neil , David Higgins , James Robinson