All Hail the Victors: Styles, Dillon Get First Win On Weather-Shortened Final Day COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. (June 26, 2004) -- The SCCA ProRally field had just come down from its first morning run, and crews were setting up for their mid-day ...
All Hail the Victors:
Styles, Dillon Get First Win On Weather-Shortened Final Day
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. (June 26, 2004) -- The SCCA ProRally field had just come down from its first morning run, and crews were setting up for their mid-day service. That's when all hail broke loose.
A summer thunderstorm rolled over the top of Pikes Peak and dumped heavy rain, hail and several inches of snow at the summit, forcing a lengthy delay in the event and a cancellation of the fifth stage of the rally.
Leon Styles and co-driver John Dillon, upon hearing the cancellation, celebrated next to Styles' Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII as they claimed their first-ever SCCA ProRally Championship Presented by Hot Wheels® victory. The duo, with a time of 32:11.7, beat out second-place finishers Pat and Nathalie Richard's Subaru Impreza WRX by 9.1 seconds (32:20.8). Andrew Barnes, with co-driver Ieuan Thomas, finished third (32:37.8): 17 seconds behind the Richards in a Hyundai Tiburon.
"It feels great, mate," said a beaming Styles afterward. "What a place to earn our first victories."
The cancellation of the last stage didn't please everyone.
"It's too bad because I thought we could get those nine seconds back," Pat Richard said. "The boys (his crew) took everything apart after I overheated a bit on the run, and we were confident we had things figured out. So yeah, the guys are a little bummed we didn't get another shot at it."
Overall, it was still a good weekend for Richard, who finished first and extended his lead in the FIA Group N class. Behind Richard, the husband-and-wife tandem of Masayuki and co-driving Takako Akaba finished second in Group N and 10th overall. Ron Nelson, with co-driver Bill Montgomery, finished third in the class and 12th overall with a time of 35:03.0.
Drivers Doug Shepherd, with co-driver Pete Gladysz, and Paul Choiniere, with co-driver Cindy Krolikowski, waged a second-straight classic battle in Group 5. Choiniere got the class win, but had to fight off a terrific effort from Shepherd, whose 12:53.5 SS4 was his first sub-13 minute mark on the mountain since a Production GT run in 1989. Rhys Millen drove the final 153 turns of SS4 without power steering (after it failed on turn three) and finished an impressive third in his Pontiac GTO.
Stephan Verdier, with co-driver Allan Walker continued a solid PGT season, adding another class win by topping Todd and co-driving father Ray Moberly. Verdier finished ninth overall and posted a 34:09.6, which was 23.6 seconds ahead of Moberly, who finished 11th. Bruce Davis, with co-driver Lee Sorenson, picked up some PGT points by finishing third (40:26.0).
Mark Brown and co-driver Ole Holter (40:41.5) came in 20th overall and smoked Group 2, taking the class win over Gerardo Pin and co-driver Rebecca Greek (51:29.8). Richard Byford, with co-driver Fran Olson, came in third with a time of 55:43.8.
The storm may have been welcome in the Mark Tabor/Kevin Poirier camp. During SS4, the duo smacked a piece of the mountain and bent a front control arm. Though their Acura RSX Type S was crippled, Tabor managed to drive it to the summit and get the class win while finishing 18th overall.
Tabor's finish was important as the other Production entry, John Hamilton and co-driver Ken Sabo, did not get past the first stage of the weekend thanks to a faulty turbo. Hamilton and Sabo did get the Hill Climb victory after replacing the turbo, however. A great run Saturday morning, coupled with Tabor's rocky run-in, turned into a 44.2-second victory margin for Hamilton.
Maine Forest, the sixth round of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship Presented by Hot Wheels, is set for July 30-31. For more information about the Championship, visit www.scca.com.
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