Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally Round ...
Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally Round #7 - 1998 Michelin PRO Rally Championship Bemidji, Minnesota
20. After the first several stages - and we won't get full details until the drivers come back in for the evening - there are top runners that have run into problems:
--The Paul Choiniere/Wayne Brooks Hyundai Tiburon is out of the event, losing an alternator belt only five miles into stage #1. If either Merrill or Summerbell finish first or second, they will pass Paul in the points. --The Garen Shrader/Doc Shrader Ford Sierra Cosworth brought their car to the beginning of stage #2, but was unable to start the stage (mechanical). --The Tom Ottey/Pam McGarvey Mazda 323GTX are also a DNF, with the rally car needing a tow 1/2-mile into stage #2. The car was able to continue, only to DNF after going off on stage #3. --The Ken Stewart/Jim Dale Chevy S-10 was seen off the road with its lights pointing back towards rally traffic on stage #2. No word on whether the car was able to continue. --The Mark Utecht/Douglas Dill Dodge Omni GLH withdrew from the event after stage #3 with a broken strut tower. --The Saab Sonnet of Paul Moorman/Suzanne Wootan broke its rear suspension, and needed to be trailered out of the stage as it could not be towed.
21. The Ralph Kosmides/Joe Noyes Toyota Supra twin-turbo received a boost this week from Chester Berg Toyota in Bemidji. The dealership gave the team service bay space and manpower help to prepare for the event this week.
22. More news from the field - the following cars are reported out of the event as of stage #3:
--The Mark Larson/Tim Winker Eagle Talon; the Mike Bodnar/Steve Bodnar Audi Quattro; and the Craig Kazmierczak/Diane Sargent Mazda RX-7 are all DNFs - explanations to come. A side note: Larson/Winker entered the divisionals just before registration closed, so they, along with any other divisional entries, can run tomorrow in the second divisional if they can fix the car overnight.
--The Bryan Pepp/Jerry Stang Eagle Talon is a mechanical DNF.
23. 35 cars are running as the rally entered stage #4.
24. We will be publishing a separate set of divisional Results
25. After the first night - five stages, the John Buffum/Doug Shepherd Hyundai Elantra has a 1:52 lead over the Carl Merrill/Lance Smith Ford Escort Cosworth. Merrill's car ran well despite a leaky radiator caused by an errant stone on stage #2. The David Summerbell/Michael Fennell Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV is third, 1:34 behind Merrill. The T.A.D. Motorsports crew will work on Summerbell's car overnight to try to improve on horsepower output.
In the classes, the Steve Gingras/Bill Westrick Eagle Talon leads Production GT by 1:06, but all is not well in Act II Popcornland. The main bearing on the driveshaft end is shot, and the crew will be installing a borrowed part from the Mark Larson Talon (a DNF with engine problems because of a broken thermostat) overnight. The Gail Truess/Pattie Hughes Mazda 323GTX, which won the 10,000 Lakes Divisional event, is third in PGT, followed by the Chris Czyzio/Eric Carlson Mitsubishi Eclipse.
The Group 5 battle is down to two cars with the Utecht DNF, and it's Kosmides/Noyes in the Toyota Supra over Hurst/Bohn's Mazda RX-7 by a mere six seconds. Bill Malik/Christian Edstrom is seven minutes ahead in his Volvo 240 in Group 2 after the Dave White/Cindy Krolikowski VW GTI went off the road (details to come). In Production, the favored Honda Civic of Jay Kowalik/Scott Embree has a two minute lead over the Plymouth Neon of Evan and Ron Moen.
26. The Mike Whitman/Paula Gibeault Ford Sierra Cosworth lost tons of time on stage three with a mysterious electrical problem which turned out to be a broken fuel pump fuse. They fixed that problem, but are worried as the car is blowing other fuses.
27. The Craig Kazmierczak/Diane Sargent Mazda RX-7 DNF was caused by wiring problems. Craig did some re-wiring on the stages, but the car finally died after service on #3.
28. Kosmides ran a poor stage #3, missing a turn and having to back up, and having mis-aimed lights that made him slow down on the long 15- mile road.
29. The Bodnar/Bodnar Audi DNF was caused by co-driver Steven's car sickness. They will try to run again today in the Paul Bunyan's Ride divisional.