ProRally: Ojibwe Saturday notes

Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally Round ...

Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally Round #7 - 1998 Michelin PRO Rally Championship Bemidji, Minnesota Press Notes #11 - Saturday, August 29 - 9:00 PM

30. With only hours left in the 12th running of the Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally, it looks like the vintage rally drivers in the field - 11-time national champion John Buffum, and his co-driver for four of those years in the 70s and 80s - Doug Shepherd, will score the overall victory in a four-wheel-drive Hyundai Elantra.

Although Buffum and Shepherd won the championship together in 1978, 1980, 1982 and 1983, they had never driven together in Minnesota as Ojibwe became a national PRO Rally in 1986.

After 12 of the 17 stages completed, the veteran rally pair had a three minute lead over Carl Merrill and Lance Smith in the 400-hp Ford Escort Cosworth. In third place, another minute-and-a-half back is the Jamaican team of David Summerbell and co-driver Michael Fennell.

In the other classes, the Steve Gingras/Bill Westrick Eagle Talon has a 40-second lead over the Cal Landau/Eric Marcus Mitsubishi Eclipse in Production GT; Bill Malik/Christian Edstrom have a seven-minute in the Volvo 240 in Group 2; Mike Hurst/Rob Bohn have the Group 5 lead in their Mazda RX-7; and Jay Kowalik/Scott Embree Honda Civic leads Production.

Of the original 45 starters on Friday evening, 29 cars were running near the rally's end.

31. The first incident of day occured on stage #8, where the Ralph Kosmides/Joe Noyes Toyota Supra dove over the banking right at the end of the stage. Ralph completed the stage, and lost control of the car right after the flying finish. After nearly getting hit by the Chris Czyzio/Eric Carlson Mitsubishi Eclipse, Kosmides got back on the road courtesy of a Scott Carlborn tow, but lost six minutes in road penalties.

32. At the Park Rapids service after stage #8, Mark Utecht, while taking off the cylinder head to check for engine trouble, found a holed-piston in his Dodge Omni GLH turbo, and DNFed for the second day in a row,

33. Also a DNF for the second day in a row is the Mike Bodnar/D.J. Bodnar Audi Quattro, which was mysteriously down on power.

34. After fixing their fuel pump fuse last night, the Mike Whitman/Paula Gibeault Ford Sierra Cosworth experienced unrelated fuel pump problems Saturday, and retired after stage #11.

35. The J.B. Niday/Paul Schwerin Ford Festiva is also a DNF, victim of overheating.

36. The Brian Scott/Jamie Quaderer Dodge Charger rolled on stage #11, putting the car out of the event with Jamie requiring medical attention at the scene.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Joe Noyes , Bill Malik , Christian Edstrom , Lance Smith , John Buffum , Brian Scott