SCCAÂ® ProRallysm Championship - Round ...
SCCA® ProRallysm Championship - Round #8 - Prescott Forest
Choiniere/Becker Clinch Overall Drivers', Co-Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championship
Prescott, Arizona: The penultimate round of the 2000 SCCA ProRally Championship season became the ultimate round for 7-time SCCA Driver's Champion Paul Choiniere and 4-time Overall Manufacturers Champion Hyundai. Driving a smooth, steady and just quick enough pace over the course of the two-day event, Choiniere, along with 6-time champion co-driver Jeff Becker demonstrated true championship grit with a closely calculated finish just 23 seconds ahead of the Lon Peterson/Bill Gutzmann Subaru Impreza 2.5RS turbo. Finishing third, driving a brilliant come-from-behind race was the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV of Garen Shrader and Michael Fennell. The Choiniere/Becker victory tonight caps off a tough season which saw Hyundai's 4-year domination of the SCCA ProRally Championship seriously challenged for the first time by a strong field of independently entered Mitsubishis. Starting off the season with new 2000 model SCCA Open Class AWD Tiburons, the team had more than its share of mechanical and electrical gremlins and just plain tough racing luck. Finally hitting its customary winning stride at Maine Forest, the Libra Racing prepared Hyundai Tiburons have won every event in the championship since then, including a full sweep of the podium at Ojibwe Forests. Lon Peterson, faced with a string of mechanical DNF's, finally got the ride he's been hoping for this weekend, and was in contention for the overall win, twice swapping fastest stage times with Choiniere, and leading overall at today's midpoint. Post event, Peterson was clear in spelling out the team's intentions: "There's no doubt that this car can take an overall - it's been a steep learning curve for us, but we have the right combination now of motor, gearing and durability, and are ready for a terrific end-of-year show at Lake Superior. We (Peterson, co-driver Bill Gutzmann and teammate Jonathan Ryther) have spent this season intentionally getting the cars, and ourselves, right for 2001." Garen Shrader and Michael Fennell repeated their 3rd place podium at Wild West here at Prescott, another strong showing for the team, particularly in light of the puncture and subsequent repair and transit delay last night. The duo made up a significant time deficit finishing the event less than 2 minutes behind Choinere, setting two fastest stage times in the process. Paul Eklund, who finally broke out of his DNF streak at Wild West two weeks ago duplicated his 5th place overall finish again here at Prescott, and is now ready to work his way up the ladder. Scott Huhn, Eklund's co-driver noted "we've been really conservative the last couple events, because we knew that making the finish was so important - now that we know we can finish reliably, we are ready to turn the boost back up." As at Wild West, the most dramatic story of the weekend was in Group 5. The "Utecht and Hourt Show" has turned into quite the serial, and the Prescott episode delivered the now expected overturn of fortunes in spades. Bryan Hourt got off to an uncharacteristically quick start - with the supercharged Honda delivering horsepower in the high altitudes that his normally aspirated competition just couldn't deliver - and rapidly moved up the leader board, finishing 4th overall, an all-time career high. Mark Utecht, driving a rented VW Golf Gti, knew that he wouldn't be able to keep up in the horsepower race - but also knew that this particular Gti was a veteran of Prescott, and was capable of going fast enough to keep pressure on Hourt. That strategy started to fade rapidly away in SS6, when Utecht ran 'just a little' wide and slid the car "gently" into a berm - but snapping the driver's side rear axle clean off the car anyway. Returning to service with a three-legged Golf wasn't in the plan - but the Guy Light managed service crew, all veterans of rally racing in the high desert, had a full set of spares ready, and swapped out the complete axle assembly and had Utecht back on the road in less than 10 minutes. Confidence restored, Utecht continued on, and managed to keep Hourt in sight for the rest of the day, finishing just under 4 minutes behind the high-flying Honda. With four consecutive 1st place finishes, the hotly contested and often nearly tied 2000 overall Manufacturers Championship is now locked in for Hyundai, with the unofficial overall standings now at: Hyundai 140, Mitsubishi 112, Subaru 104, and Toyota 57. The final round of the 2000 SCCA ProRally Championship will be in just three weeks, on the tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, at the Lake Superior ProRally, October 20-21. While the Open, Overall and Production GT championships are now decided, the hotly contested Group 2, Group 5 and Production Class Championships remain wide open, as well as the coveted Woodner Cup for overall 2WD Drivers.
<pre> Prescott Forest SCCA ProRally Finish Order (unofficial) times are in hours:minutes:seconds start Finish Car# Time Seed Class Driver Co-driver year Car 1 1 2 1:30:47 FIA Open Paul Choiniere Jeff Becker 00 Hyundai Tiburon 10 2 148 1:31:11 2 Open Lon Peterson Bill Gutzman 00 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS turbo 3 3 4 1:32:13 1 Open Garen Shrader Michael Fennell 95 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV 11 4 71 1:34:16 2 Gr 5 Bryan Hourt Jay Kowalik 97 Honda Civic 5 5 32 1:35:14 2 Open Paul Eklund Scott Huhn 95 Subaru Impreza 13 6 72 1:37:32 2 GT Roger Hull Sean Gallagher 92 Eagle Talon 12 7 83 1:37:57 2 Gr 5 Mark Utecht Brenda Corneliusen 86 Dodge Omni turbo 4 8 28 1:38:28 1 Gr 2 Bill Malik Amity Trowbridge 80 Volvo 240 turbo 24 9 149 1:40:24 6 Open Jonathan Ryther Janice Damitio 00 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS 18 10 09 1:44:10 3 Gr 2 Robert Neilsen Brett Corneliusen 87 VW Golf Gti 18 11 165 1:45:33 3 P Dennis Chizma David Weiman 73 Porsche 911 20 12 117 1:46:23 3 Open Ken Stewart Doc Shrader 85 Chevrolet S-10 19 13 55 1:46:38 3 P Brian Vinson Richard Beels 87 VW Golf Gti 8 14 95 1:51:49 2 Open Tony Chavez Eddie Cardenas 91 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 24 15 84 1:58:22 5 Gr 2 J.B. Niday Al Kintigh 86 VW Golf Gti 25 16 139 2:06:55 6 GT Janus Jastrzeldski Tom Zaremba 95 Subaru Impreza ClubRally #2 Only Entries 5 1 214 1:00:23 3 Gr 5 Joe Noyes John Forespring 93 Toyota Supra 1 2 324 1:02:36 6 Gr 5 Peter Workum John Rippel 77 Plymouth Fire Arrow 2 3 303 1:02:51 2 Gr 2 Paula Gibeault Chrissy Beavis 90 VW Jetta 3 4 311 1:03:07 3 Gr 2 Brad Boli Gary Garman 86 Honda Accord 6 5 396 1:04:40 6 Open Keith Roper Jack Evanson 91 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 4 6 401 1:05:58 3 Gr 5 Jim Gillaspy Mick Kilpatrick 84 Dodge Colt 8 7 388 1:06:39 6 Gr 5 Darren Pennington EJ Webb 90 VW Corrado G60 17 8 367 1:10:14 6 Gr 2 Richard Byford Fran Olson 70 BMW 2002 12 9 371 1:10:39 3 Gr 5 John Shults Don Shreyer 73 Mazda RX-3 10 10 325 1:13:18 3 Open Bruce Brown Pat Brown 93 Subaru Impreza 11 11 364 1:15:29 6 Gr 2 Robert Sudhop Louis Panelli 96 Mitsubishi Eclipse 13 12 368 1:18:44 6 Gr 5 Chris Acker Peter Morris 98 Ford Mustang 7 13 322 1:30:11 3 Open Bob Pendergrass Jon Weigley 69 Chevrolet Blazer
Retirements - unofficial Car # Drivers Name Co-Drivers Name Class Year Make stage Retirement cause (unofficial) 35 Lee Shadbolt Bob Sherman Open 97 Subaru DNS Engine 427 Drew Goldsmith Lee Sorenson Open 88 Toyota SS1 Accident 1 Noel Lawler Charles Bradley Open 00 Hyundai SS2 Interior electrical 53 Kyoichi Takaori Ken Cassidy Open 95 Mitsubishi SS2 Accident 20 George Plsek Alex Gelsomino Open 90 Audi SS3 Electrical 387 Brady Dohrmann Brandon Smith Gr 5 86 Mazda SS6 Engine management 73 Nicholas Robinson Carl Lindquist Gr 2 97 Honda SS7 Roll-over 160 Eric Eaton Kenny Almquist Open 99 Subaru SS8 Puncture, Suspension failure 934 Raymond Johansen Kevin Adams Gr 2 78 VW SS8 Accident 51 Jay Streets Bill Feyling Gr2 85 Toyota SS8 Roll-over 378 Gary English Kengo Takahashi Gr 2 86 Alfa-Romeo SS9 Engine electrical