ProRally: Maine Forest Rally report

SPRONGLS PLOWS TO SECOND STRAIGHT MAINE FOREST VICTORY; CHOINIERE SNAGS FIFTH SCCA/MICHELIN NATIONAL TITLE IN SIX YEARS RUMFORD, Maine -- December 3 -- Showing their Canadian winter rally heritage, Toronto's Frank Sprongl with...

SPRONGLS PLOWS TO SECOND STRAIGHT MAINE FOREST VICTORY; CHOINIERE SNAGS FIFTH SCCA/MICHELIN NATIONAL TITLE IN SIX YEARS RUMFORD, Maine -- December 3 -- Showing their Canadian winter rally heritage, Toronto's Frank Sprongl with brother and co-driver Dan Sprongl swept the SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally field for a two-minute victory in their Audi Quattro S-2 at the Maine Forest Rally. The event, run on the Boise Cascade Forest roads in Southern Maine, featured snow-covered and icy conditions as well as sub-zero temperatures - just what the Canadians like. "We didn't do very well on Friday night as we had been up all night driving to the event, but a good night's sleep and experience in the snow really helped our cause. Our Audi Quattro S-2 was the perfect Arctic racer," said Frank Sprongl, who had clinched his second straight Canadian rally title last month. Finishing second, but clinching his fifth SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally national championship in the last six years was Shelburne, Vermont's Paul Choiniere, with co-driver Jeff Becker, who Hyundai Elantra overcame a water pump belt problem in the early stages to stay in contention. Third overall was the Ogunquit, Maine-based team of Carl Merrill and John Bellefleur in a Ford Escort Cosworth, followed by the right-hand drive Mitsubishi Lancer of Henry Joy and Jimmy Brandt. Other class winners included Selcuk Karamanoglu/Yorgi Bittner, from Bath, Maine, in an Eagle Talon (Production GT); Bob Elliott/John Hart, from Rutland, VT, in a VW GTI (Production); Constantine Mantopoulos/Barry Berg, from Staten Island, NY, in an Audi Quattro (Group A); and Kurt Thiel/George Thompson, from Rochester, NY, in a VW GTI (Group 2). In a PRO Rally, each team consists of a driver and a co-driver (or navigator), and the exact course is kept secret until just before the event - different from World Rally, where practice is allowed. The cars start at one-minute intervals and race against the clock over 6 - 24 stages which range in length from four to 25 miles. Most of the rallies include night stages, making it necessary for competitors to adjust their driving style. Speeds of more than 120 miles-per-hour could be reached on long straight-aways, with the team achieving the fastest combined times winning the event. As this was the last event of the SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally season, national champions were also crown. Besides Choiniere's overall national title, the class champions included Cal Landau/Eric Marcus, from Coraopolis, PA, in a Mitsubishi Eclipse (Production GT); Bruce Newey/Charles Bradley, from Atlanta, GA, in a Toyota All-Trac (Group A); Tad Ohtake/Bob Martin, from Dearborn, MI, in a Ford Escort GT (Production); Sam Bryan/Rob Walden, from Kent, WA, in Saab 900 (Group 2); and Dave Turner/Ben Bradley, from Hemet, Calif., in a Mitsubishi Pick-up (Rally Truck). In other year-end news, the Sports Car Club of America announced the tentative 1996 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally schedule, which includes 11 events. [See separate article. --ed.]

The Maine Forest Rally was presented by the New England Region of the Sports Car Club of America, with assistance from the Blue Mountain Region of the SCCA. The National PRO Rally series is sponsored by Michelin Tire Corporation, sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America, and administered by the American Rally Association. # # #

-- Ben Bradley *There are only two types of rally drivers: bradley@reed.edu Those who HAVE rolled and those who WILL 89 323 GTX, 67 Cortina GT *Will co-drive for food... http://www.reed.edu/~bradley *#30 ICSCC HP '69 Opel Kadett

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Paul Choiniere , Jeff Becker , Frank Sprongl , Kurt Thiel , Jimmy Brandt