SCCA ProRally Championship - Round ...
SCCA ProRally Championship - Round #3 - Rim of the World
Day One Preliminary Results and Key Notes (Friday)
At 7:00 PM Pacific Time this evening a final tally of 51 cars began the 17th running of the SCCA Rim of the World ProRally, the Championship's most grueling event, under clear, crisp and blustery skies.
¨ The rally began at the headquarters Hotel, the Palmdale Holiday Inn, with the surrounding fields converted, as is now becoming standard at SCCA ProRally events, into a special RallyCross stage. The 1.2 mile stage was primarily composed of the fine, silty dirt that is so much a part of the "Rim" mystique, with a 1/8 mile tarmac strip in the center of the run for an extra challenge.
¨ The extraordinarily fine dirt that makes up the Angeles Forest mountains began its legendary choking ways very early on in the rally, claiming Noel Lawler's Hyundai Tiburon as an early victim - shorting out the alternator halfway through stage 4. Paul Choiniere's Tiburon nearly befell the same fate in the same stage, but had enough battery power to make it to service.
¨ Early retirements claimed two front runners; Bill Malik's Volvo (transmission) and Paul Eklund's Subaru Impreza (engine). On SS4, Ralph Kosmides' Toyota Supra scooped up a rock into its accessory belt drive, shattering a tensioner and dropping the team back a staggering 24 positions. By the end of the night, Kosmides was able to gain back 10 of those spots, finishing 20th overall.
¨ Tony Chavez, a local favorite that always runs near the front, ran out of fuel on his way to the service, but luckily only lost one position due to the delay. Jay Streets (#351) suffered a similar fate, but was towed into the service by #97 (Dubinsky) loosing only a few positions.
¨ Garen Shrader, last year's overall winner, and who was running as high as 2nd overall tonight, high-centered on a berm in SS6 and has been time-barred from the event, after several unsuccessful attempts to extricate themselves.
¨ At the close of tonight's running, only two entries had retired due to accidents - the #377 Eagle Talon of Sean McKenna and Neal Kiley, and the #222 Nissan Sentra SE-R of Jon Tabor and Kevin Poirier, which squarely hit a rock, big enough to put the motor into the hood, and catapult the car into a spectacular multiple barrel roll. That car, clearly, is a write-off, but both driver and co-driver are fine.
¨ Eric Eaton, the newcomer who did so well at last month's Oregon Trail event until suffering transmission failure on the penultimate stage, is having another exceptionally good first half of the rally, and is clearly hoping for an equally good 2nd day. Eaton's new Subaru Impreza 2.5RS, which was scheduled to debut here at Rim, is still being finished, so his usually faithful Mazda 323GTX was repaired and put back into service for this weekend.
¨ And finally, 1999 Production class champion Karl Scheible, with co-driver Russ Hughes, is having a very good evening, finishing the night much the way they finished Sno*Drift in January - right behind Paul Choiniere in 2nd place, setting the stage for what will certainly shape up to be a very interesting Day 2.