Rim of the World ProRally 33.) Good afternoon and welcome to day two of the Rim of the World ProRally. It's still clear, sunny and breezy, here in the city that probably has more spies per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. (More ...
Rim of the World ProRally
33.) Good afternoon and welcome to day two of the Rim of the World ProRally. It's still clear, sunny and breezy, here in the city that probably has more spies per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. (More later.)
34.) Before moving to today's notes, there are a couple of items that were inadvertently left out of Friday's. Several staff members of TMR magazine are here competing in their first-ever ProRally. They're driving a Ford Escort ZX2 that was provided to them by Ford for use as a project vehicle. In conjunction with Mike Welch at Roadrace Engineering and Dave Wolin, they prepared the car for rallying, with added assistance from manufacturers such as Sparco. The magazine feels that ProRally will be the next big niche sport. The gang competing here is pretty much all from the import drag-racing scene. So rallying seems to have made some interesting conquests.
35.) The TMR crew showed up at the very well-attended press stage yesterday morning with their sharp-looking new wheels, ready to do their part to support the event. Unfortunately, driver David Reine had not been through his licensing school (later in the day), which meant that he could not give rides to other media people and VIPs. So Dave White hopped in the car and gave him a little impromptu rally driving instruction, then drove a few VIPs. When the rally got underway, the TMR crew was doing well until their computer died. As would happen to just about any new rally team in the dark in foggy mountains, they quickly got lost. They did not get discouraged, though. They got too far behind to continue, but checked in at rally headquarters to let people know that they had been "found," then went off to get ready for today.
36.) Now, to today. The hot action from last night re-ignited with the drop of the first ceremonial green flag at 1:00 p.m. On the first stage, Choiniere finished one hundredth of a minute ahead of Lawler. Choiniere's comment was "What a team!" Lawler's tongue-in-cheek reaction to the difference was, "I was just following team orders."
37.) They weren't the only ones who had the bit between their teeth. Garen and Doc Shrader had their Evo flying. They were only about 20 seconds back. Pete Lahm and Matt Chester had their Evo cranking also, and were about 12 seconds behind the Shaders. Paul Ekland and Dave Jameson were a mere three hundredths further astern in the Impreza "USX" -- which just might get to be known as the Screaming Yellow Zonker if keeps running so well.
38.) "Flying Fever" definitely was contagious out there. Gail Truess and Pattie Hughes had their Mazda 323 GTX at warp-speed, and actually beat Ralph Kosmides by a few hundredths. Kosmides had slowed down some after chief rival Bill Malik lost his clutch right in front of him, but Truess and Hughes still had to be hauling to beat his time.
39.) Now, about the spies. Sitting a couple miles across the freeway is an ominously large silver building. It's the famous "Skunk Works," where the world's most advanced --- and secret -- aircraft are built. By itself, that would be enough to attract an army of spies. However, across the airport is the Air Force's Plant 42, where the B-2 Stealth Bombers were built. Not far away is the facility where the Space Shuttles are serviced; and the Rockwell plant where the B-1 bombers were built is just down. Edwards Air Force is over in the next valley.
40.) Lauchlin O'Sullivan and Rui Brasil both got their cars back in service and entered today's ClubRally. However, Brasil's hard luck shows no sign of ending. His power steering died again. In addition, he landed hard after hitting a water bar and did some more damage. On top of that, he came into service with a 1x12-inch chunk of tree branch sticking out of the grille. It had taken out his lights but somehow had missed the radiator.
41.) We've mentioned that Gail Truess and Pattie Hughes have been running strongly in GT. So have Lee Shadbolt and Claire Chizma, in their Subaru Impreza. The two teams have been an up-and-down battle, literally. Shadbolt says, "Uphill, she's got us, but in the tight stuff we're gaining on them."
42.) Dust almost put Garen and Doc Shrader on the sidelines this afternoon. On the day's opening stage, dust infiltrated the Evo IV's cockpit so heavily from some unseen openings that Garen became ill to the point of nearly retiring the car on the stage. However, he toughed it out to the end.
43.) Paul Eklund and several frontrunners described the stage as being in the best condition ever; and everyone seemed to have really enjoyed it.
44.) Rui Brasil isn't the only one having power-steering problems. Noel Lawler's Hyundai tossed its power-steering belt on Stage 7, and there was no spare in the car. So Lawler has been muscling the Tiburon along until they can get to the next service. However, he already has worn his hands raw from the effort.
45.) Tony Chavez and Ken Cassidy are still third with the Galant VR-4, but they clearly are gaining on Lawler as he struggles with the power-steering-less Tiburon.
46.) Eric Eaton and Kenny Almquist got into some deep silt early on Stage 7 and did a hard snap roll in their Mazda 323 GTX. They were unhurt, but the car emerged looking like a doorstop, with the roof flattened to the point of giving the car a distinct wedge shape. The car still was sound, although down on boost due to a partially crushed intake tube. The accident took out the headlights, but the team planned to rely on their driving lights.
47.) ClubRallyists Robert Garcia and Tony Vu did get their Plymouth Laser back in action today, after a late-night transaxle change. However, they retired on Stage 7 with mechanical problems.
48.) Rui Brasil's problems continue. The crew fixed the power steering, but now he has no boost. The power-steering pump chewed its way through the intercooler housing after Rui hit a water bar hard and broke a motor mount. The intercooler can be repaired, but the team does not have the correct motor mount.
49.) Ralph Kosmides had been running well in today's early going. Last night's repairs had brought the Supra back to its lively self. However, it's been reported that he's lost boost again.
50.) Due to the difficulties using cellular phones at the far end of the course, we probably won't have many reports between now and end of the rally.
51.) We do, however, have a "live" report. Unfortunately, it came in the form of Christian Edstrom stopping by the press room to tell us that he and Bill Malik had retired their Group 2 Volvo "with unspecified driveline failure between the (engine's) bottom end and the transmission.
52.) Difficulties related to moving a car that had broken down on a stage have pushed the rally's schedule back some, but the first finishers still are expected around 10:00-10:15 p.m.
53.) As the first finishers begin to arrive, so does word that there has been a major change in the standings. Paul Choiniere and Noel Lawler have finished one-two on time. However, a 10-minute penalty has been assessed to both Libra Racing drivers as the result of their crew placing supplies for possible emergency use by the team's cars in an unauthorized area. The service never took place, but the infraction was detected and the penalty was assessed. This moved Choiniere and Lawler to third and fourth overall, respectively. After an appeal the penalty was upheld.
54.) The overall winners of Rim of the World are Garen and Doc Shrader, in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV. It is Garen's first ProRally win. While they would have liked the victory to have come under different circumstances, he and Doc are happy troops tonight. The margin of victory was just under two minutes.
55.) Pete Lahm and Matt Chester are second overall in the other Lancer Evo IV, and are enjoying their finish as much as the Shraders.
56.) With Tony Chavez and Ken Cassidy coming home fifth in the Galant VR-4, Mitsubishi has had a strong one-two-five showing.
57.) Paul Eklund and Ken Cassidy brought Eklund's new Open class Subaru Impreza home sixth overall in an impressive debut run. Right behind them were GT winners Lee Shadbolt and Claire Chizma, in another Impreza.
58.) Ralph Kosmides and Joe Noyes took the Group 5 honors handily, even though they had to nurse the car much of the afternoon. The problem was not loss of boost, as reported earlier. It was overheating from a blown head gasket. They had to stop to add water a number of times, but Kosmides still was very pleased with what he called a great event.
59.) While he and Kosmides were in the press room, navigator Joe Noyes indicated that he had been one of the numerous co-drivers who had suffered heavy-duty motion sickness last night. He added that high heat in the car was a big factor, surprising in view of the cold temperatures outside.
60.) Mark Brown and John Allen won Production in their Volkswagen GTi, well clear of second place. That was the new-style Volkswagen Beetle of Karl Scheible and Gail McGuire, which lost time last night with a broken front strut.
61.) After the trouble last night, Scheible jokingly said that they had a bucket of bolts today, but that they finished anyhow. He added that when they finished yesterday's stages they went to the event program and found a local welder's ad. They were banging on his door at 1:00 a.m. He was welding on the car by about 1:30 and kept at it until about 3:00 a.m.
62.) Lauchlin and Farina O'Sullivan, whose off-course excursion put them out of the ProRally last night, came back to win today's companion ClubRally. Fellow misfortune-sufferers Chad Dykes and Deborah Fuller came back from a rollover in their Toyota pickup to win Group 2, second overall among ClubRally competitors. There were no Group 2 finishers in the ProRally.
63.) Gail Truess and Pattie Hughes, who also had entered the ClubRallies, won GT in today's Club event. They were leading the class in the ProRally as well, until a puncture late in the event cost them six minutes at a time when they were up by about five.
64.) Mark Brown and John Allen doubled up in Production, taking the class win there as well.
# Driver/Co-Driver Car Seed Score Place Class
14 Garen Shrader/Floyd Shrader Lancer Evo IV 3 2:46:05 1 Open
34 Pete Lahm/Matt Chester Lancer Evo IV 2 2:48:03 2 Open
3 Paul Choiniere/Jeff Becker Hyundai FIA 2:48:18 3 Open
2 Noel Lawler/Charles Bradley Hyundai 1 2:50:43 4 Open
95 Tony Chavez/Ken Cassidy Galant VR-4 2 2:53:26 5 Open
32 Paul Eklund/Dave Jameson Subaru Impreza 4 2:55:27 6 Open
35 Lee Shadbolt/Claire Chizma Subaru Impreza 3 2:57:54 1 GT
7 Ralph Kosmides/Joe Noyes Toyota Supra 1 2:58:27 1 Group 5
68 Doug Robinson/Susan Robinson Mazda 323 5 2:58:32 7 Open
16 Gail Truess/Pattie Hughes Mazda 323 2 3:02:17 2 GT
25 Gerry Valentini/Lee Sorenson Mazda RX-7 4 3:02:57 2 Group 5
20 George Plsek/Renn Phillips Audi quattro 3 3:04:07 8 Open 101 Mark Brown/John Allen VW GTI 4 3:04:08 1 Prod.
61 Karl Scheible/Gail McGuire VW New Beetle 3 3:08:15 2 Prod.
21 Trevor Donison/Catherine Roso Plymouth Neon 6 3:13:18 3 Prod.
70 Kendall Russell/John Dillon Dodge Shadow 5 3:18:59 3 GT
90 L O'Sullivan/F O'Sullivan Audi quattro 2 DNF Open 127 Chad Dykes/Deborah Fuller Toyota Pickup 3 DNF Group 2 92 Rui Brasil/Ola Lysenstoen Audi quattro 2 DNF Open 17 Robert Garcia/Tony Khoa Vu Plymouth Laser 6 DNF Group 5 10 Bill Malik/Christian Edstrom Volvo 240 1 DNF Group 2
39 Carl Jardevall/Amity Trowbridge Volvo 740 3 DNF Group 5 114 Frank Cunningham/N Pessoa VW Golf Kit Car 4 DNF Group 5