ProRally: Ojibwe Forests Leg One report

Bemidji, Minnesota; -- A final tally of 77 cars - still the largest-ever field for this event by a wide margin - started the Ojibwe Forests SCCA ProRally this evening, for five quick stages in the dense forest some 40 miles south of the host ...

Bemidji, Minnesota; -- A final tally of 77 cars - still the largest-ever field for this event by a wide margin - started the Ojibwe Forests SCCA ProRally this evening, for five quick stages in the dense forest some 40 miles south of the host city. Hard rains soaked much of the area this morning, but rapidly clearing skies and temps in the high 80's gave the rallyist's hot and humid air, but relatively dry and dust-free roads to work with well into the evening.

A near three-way tie for first-night top-overall position has built amongst the three Hyundai entries, with no team orders to hold any of the drivers as reserve in evidence. National champion drivers all, and with the manufacturers championship race the tightest in years, this risky strategy could pay off in distancing themselves from the 6-car Mitsubishi armada immediately behind them. Subaru is staying in striking distance however, with a massive Impreza fleet led by the WRX-Sti of the Krolikowskis in 10th, followed closely by the Open class turbo of Eklund, Richard's PGT 2.5 RS, and five more in the top 30 .

There may be some trouble on the horizon for one Hyundai - Noel Lawler's Tiburon is experiencing its 6th mechanical gremlin in as many events - this time with turbo woes. An intermittent problem believed to be centered around the electronic boost controller, Noel was still able to set fastest stage times in SS1 and SS2, in a tie with team boss Buffum and running mate Choiniere respectively. If the quirk is fixed overnight, Noel could walk away from the field.

Peter Cunningham, fresh from last week's GT class victory in Canada at the SCCA World Challenge race meeting at St Croix, is revisiting the Ojibwe Forests event for the first time since 1993. Driving his brilliant grape-hued 1999 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, Cunningham is finding out how well the car runs on all 4 cylinders, finishing day one in a solid 7th place overall. In June, at his first and only other SCCA ProRally event in many years, the accomplished driver managed to keep his Evo in the top 5 all weekend on just 3 working cylinders.

Ralph Kosmides, in the lone Toyota manufacturers championship entry is once again in a tight Group 5 contest with local favorite and increasingly serious national contender Mark Utecht, finishing the first night a mere 10 seconds (unofficial) ahead of the hard-driving Dodge pilot. Fighting turbo problems all day, Kosmides crew will be working through the night to get the Supra back up to speed.

The highly anticipated debut of Eric Eaton's SCCA Open Class Subaru Impreza turbo failed to materialize, with teething problems keeping the team back in Tacoma WA. Also on the entered but failed-to-start list are a trio of Audi's, including longtime series favorite John Kemp, and Central USA series regulars John Rek and Bob Pierce.

Pro series newcomer Ramana Lagemann of Connecticut posted the strongest gains of the first night, with a 51st starting position, and mid-evening re-seed in 18th, Lagemann is driving an immaculately prepared 1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4.

Attrition remained low throughout the night, with the vast majority of the field ready to rejoin the rally on day two. Mechanical troubles topped the causes, with several out with suspension and engine problems.

Leg two of the Ojibwe Forests ProRally begins at 12:00 noon, with a 2-hour Parc Expose and opening RallyCross spectator stage at Bemidji Speedway; a clay .25 mile oval on the southeast side of town. The RallyCross will run concurrently with the Parc Expose, starting the cars in reverse order. After each run, the cars will return to their Parc Expose slot. This will allow spectators and the media to see all the cars in action, and have plenty of time for interviews and autographs.

<pre> SCCA® Ojibwe Forests ProRallysm Championship Round #6 25 August, 2000 Leg One Top 25 Finishing Order - unofficial Start Finish Car# Time Class Driver Co-driver year Car 2 1 2 47:59 Open Paul Choiniere Jeff Becker 00 Hyundai Tiburon 1 2 1 48:19 Open Noel Lawler Charles Bradley 00 Hyundai Tiburon 3 3 7 48:91 Open John Buffum Mark Williams 00 Hyundai Elantra 5 4 4 50:46 Open Garen Shrader Michael Fennell 95 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV 6 5 52 50:88 Open Doug Shepherd Peter Gladysz 92 Mitsubishi Eclipse 4 6 61 51:32 FIA-N Karl Scheible Russ Hughes 98 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V 7 7 44 51:33 Open Peter Cunningham Jim Gill 99 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI 14 8 115 51:92 FIA-N Seamus Burke Frank Cunningham 98 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V 25 9 107 52:27 Open Tim Paterson Scott Ferguson 95 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV 9 10 6 52:51 FIA-N Henry Krolikowski Cindy Krolikowski 95 Subaru Impreza WRX-STI 11 11 5 53:34 Gr 5 Ralph Kosmides Ken Cassidy 96 Toyota Supra Turbo 22 12 83 53:44 Gr 5 Mark Utecht Brenda Corneliusen 86 Dodge OmniGLH turbo 19 13 162 53:71 GT Patrick Richard Nathalie Richard 98 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS 10 14 12 54:12 GT Steve Gingras Bill Westrick 94 Eagle Talon 23 15 63 54:80 Gr 5 Tad Ohtake Bob Martin 98 Ford Escort ZX2 24 16 71 54:82 Gr 5 Bryan Hourt Tom Tighe 97 Honda Civic 12 17 32 55:25 Open Paul Eklund Scott Huhn 95 Subaru Impreza turbo 17 18 20 55:57 Open George Plsek Alex Gelsomino 90 Audi quattro 90 31 19 165 56:14 P Dennis Chizma Claire Chizma 73 Porsche 911 30 20 565 57:18 FIA-N Russell Hodges Jimmy Brandt 95 Subaru Impreza WRX-STI 16 21 304 57:33 Open Lon Peterson Bill Gutzman 00 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS 18 22 35 57:51 FIA-A Lee Shadbolt Bob Sherman 97 Subaru Impreza 21 23 21 57:77 GT Chris Czyzio Eric Carlson 90 Mitsubishi Eclipse 8 24 10 63:42 Open Peter Lahm Matt Chester 95 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV 51 25 74 65:38 Open Ramana Lagemann Bill Washburn 91 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4

Leg One Retirements - unofficial Car # Drivers Name Co-Drivers Name Class Year Make stage Retirement cause (unofficial) 531 Steve Neilsen Jeff Secor GT 92 Plymouth SS1 Engine - head gasket 51 Jay Streets Mark Tabor G2 85 Toyota SS2 Engine - block 518 Dennis Martin Kathy Freund Open 92 Eagle SS2 Accident - roll-over 586 Mark Larsen Kelly Cox GT 96 Eagle SS2 Accident - roll over 589 Alec Ellsworth Steve Kaczkowski Open 97 Mitsubishi SS3 Unknown 825 Harry Anderson Mark Anderson Open 90 Eagle SS3 mechanical 545 Eric Seppannen Jake Himes P 92 Nissan SS3 Time barred 168 Celsus Donnelly Mark McAllister GT 90 Eagle SS3 Accident - roll over

-SCCA Pro Racing-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Paul Choiniere , Jeff Becker , George Plsek , Alex Gelsomino , Ralph Kosmides , Paul Eklund , Scott Huhn , Jay Streets , Seamus Burke , Frank Cunningham , Ken Cassidy , Mark McAllister , Peter Cunningham , Mark Anderson , Nathalie Richard , Jeff Secor , John Buffum , Mark Williams , Jimmy Brandt , Scott Ferguson
Teams Williams