Richard Halfway to Four, Leads Choiniere Going into Final Day RUMFORD, Maine (July 30, 2004) -- Canadian Group N competitor Pat Richard, going for his fourth win of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship Presented by Hot WheelsÂ® season, leads...
Richard Halfway to Four, Leads Choiniere Going into Final Day
RUMFORD, Maine (July 30, 2004) -- Canadian Group N competitor Pat Richard, going for his fourth win of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship Presented by Hot Wheels® season, leads the Maine Forest ProRally by 19 seconds over local favorite Paul Choiniere heading into the event's final day. Canadian Andrew Comrie-Picard sits third, 43 seconds off the pace.
Overall Driver Point leader Richard, who is winless in his last two events after beginning the season with three consecutive victories, was virtually tied with Choiniere after the first two special stages, but a problem with a microphone between Choiniere and his co-driver, Jeff Becker, left the two without communication for much of SS3, enabling Richard and his co-driving sister, Nathalie, to post a time 21 seconds faster than Choiniere/Becker and take the lead. Choiniere said the mic problem was fixed and is not expected to be a problem on Saturday.
Even though the microphones were fully operational in Richard's 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX, voice communication was still scratchy, literally, as Nathalie came into the weekend battling the flu, which reduced her voice to barely audible.
However, while concerned for his sister, other things were on Pat's mind after day one.
"If we finish this rally, we will capture the Group N Championship," Richard said. "That has been our goal all season long, and that's my goal for the rally. It's still up in the year whether we can totally pursue the (overall championship), but as long as we set out to meet the goals we established earlier in the year that will be good for the team and the sponsors."
The four stages driven Friday were not affected by the heat that torched southern and central Maine. Where dust potentially could have played a factor, recent heavy rains in the area held the dirt clouds in check, and instead supplied competitors with extremely fast conditions under sunny skies.
While Richard leads the Group N class by almost two minutes over sixth-overall Bill Bacon/Peter Watt in Bacon's brand new Vermont SportsCar-prepared 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi, Choiniere holds a 24-second advantage over Comrie-Picard in Open competition.
Doug Shepherd, with co-driver Joe Andreini, continues his torrid 2004 pace in Group 5 and is the only car in the class in the top 20, currently sitting eighth overall in his 2004 Mopar Dodge SRT-4.
Eric Burmeister is making the most of his debut run of the season in his 2003 Mazda Protege and leads Group 2 comfortably while 17th overall with co-driver Cindy Krolikowski.
One spot behind Burmeister is current Production GT leader Greg Healey, with co-driver John McLeod, who holds nearly a two-minute advantage over class competitor Bruce Davis, with co-driver Jimmy Brandt. Davis parked his familiar Mitsubishi Eclipse for a Subaru STi "just to check it out" this event and is 20th overall.
Jeff Field, with co-driver Mike Hordjik, leads the Production class in his 2000 Toyota Celica with three stages completed. Field sits 22 seconds ahead the 1995 Plymouth Neon driven by Scott Comens and his co-driver Adrian Wintle.
The second and final day of the sixth round of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship Presented by Hot Wheels® is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. from the Sunday River Brewery outside of Rumford, and the first car is slated to finish the rally at 4:15 p.m. (approx.) in Oquassoc, Maine.
For more information about the ProRally Championship, visit www.scca.com.
-scca pro rally-