SCCA ProRally Championship - Round ...
SCCA ProRally Championship - Round #4 - Rim of the World Day One Preliminary Results and Key Notes
Applying a fitting testament to the new world order in US performance rally competition, Mark Lovell wheeled his all new 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX to a commanding 3-minute lead over nearest challenger Richard Tuthill's Mitsubishi Evo VI in tonight's opening rounds of America's toughest rally. Frenchman Fredrick Dor, in his first-ever visit to the SCCA ProRally Championship, has a comfortable grasp of third place in his ex-World Rally Subaru Impreza WRX. Mitsubishi drivers Rhys Millen and SCCA ProRally Drivers Championship points leader Seamus Burke round out the top five.
¨ The Subaru Rally Team USA, based here in the United States but using the vast technical and preparation skills of the UK's legendary Prodrive operation, re-launched their SCCA ProRally Championship bid this weekend with an all new line-up of Subaru Imprezas, complete with all new service vehicles and crew uniforms. Even the pop-up tents and the tarps the crews lie on to service the cars are fresh. The impression is absolutely first-class, and Lovell and Scheible backed it up with class leading performances.
¨ After three wet events in a row, dust was a factor for the first time this season, giving a clear advantage to the first car on the road - Mark Lovell. Fortunately, there has been a steady breeze throughout the night, giving teams occasional glimpses of clear road between bouts with Rim's famously choking dust. Electrical failures were rampant, as the fine silty matter sifted its way into relays and motors, with several cars overheating due to shorted-out cooling fans, and Lon Peterson's Impreza suffering the first of this years token Rim of the World alternator failure early into the evenings stages. A 'really good battery' has kept the California native, and Rim veteran in the hunt. Lauchlin O'Sullivan's Mitsubishi would befall the same fate later in the evening, but alas, without the battery reserves Peterson had.
¨ As is so typical of Rim, retirements started immediately, with Lee Shadbolts' Subaru Impreza shattering its rear differential on the spectator stage, and Declan Hegarty's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV rolling over just before the finish line of the same stage. The car landed on all-fours, and motored under its own power to the finish line, but enough windows were missing for the event steward to end their day. Both driver and co-driver emerged completely unharmed. Overall, Day one at Rim claimed 11 retirements.
¨ Subaru is retaining its firm hold on the FIA Gr N championship points chase, with the debut of Karl Scheible's all-new 2002 WRX maintaining a one and a half minute lead over fellow Subaru driver Ramana Lagemann.
¨ Production class, showing a nice revival of interest with six entries, is providing good competition for a wide variety of cars, with Dennis Chizma's vintage 1973 Porsche 911 a mere 6 seconds ahead of Tony Chavez' 1987 VW Golf Gti. Barely a minute behind is John Buffum's Hyundai Tiburon, the multi-time champion doing his part to assure Hyundai remains in the overall MFG championship points hunt, while also giving the production class entries a rare treat - being able to compete directly with a true rally legend.