Team Mitsubishi Motor Sports America battles rain and mud to finish first and third overall at the 2003 Rim of the World ProRally The 2003 Rim of the World rally ended Saturday with the Michelin shod Lancer Evolutions having again proven their...
Team Mitsubishi Motor Sports America battles rain and mud to finish first and third overall at the 2003 Rim of the World ProRally
The 2003 Rim of the World rally ended Saturday with the Michelin shod Lancer Evolutions having again proven their competition heritage and performance potential. Team Mitsubishi driver David Higgins battled brand two new Subaru Impreza WRX STi's, and has won the 2003 SCCA Rim of the World ProRally by nearly three minutes. Higgins' California native teammate Lauchlin O'Sullivan brought his Lancer Evolution to third overall, his first podium finish with the new Mitsubishi team.
This year's Rim of the World event saw unbelievable weather and treacherous conditions. Fast moving clouds and high winds brought driving cold rain the Angeles National Forest. Rim's competition stages, normally feared for their choking dust, instead became a racers nightmare as heavy rains created slippery muddy conditions. Higgins' young co-driver Daniel Barritt noted "it's been very difficult for the driver and the co-driver with the rain and the fog. It was very extreme, I've never been in anything like that before ever." As a result of the conditions, only three of the eight scheduled stages were run on Saturday, ending the event early.
Leading the way was David Higgins and Daniel Barritt, driving the number one Mitsubishi with control and precision all day, never looking back and only building on their Friday lead. Higgins fought his way to the top last season and appears to be doing the same this year. The Lancer Evolution is a perfect fit, and together they are going to be a tough team to beat.
Lauchlin O'Sullivan, along with co-driver Christian Edstrom, charged his way through the unprecedented and unforeseen weather and road condition to his best ever open class performance. O'Sullivan, a California native, considers Rim to be his home event, and had family, friends and legions of fans cheering him on this weekend. O'Sullivan was once again the top placing American driver.
With limited experience in a high horsepower open class car and a new co- driver for this event, Lauchlin O'Sullivan deserves much respect for his result. When asked about the day, O'Sullivan was thrilled. "The roads out there were real nasty, it's one of those things where you keep it clean and the results will come to you."
At the end of the day, with both Lancer Evolutions sitting on the podium, Team Mitsubishi Motor Sports America could not be happier. Team Mitsubishi Motor Sports America has now won the first two events of the 2003 SCCA ProRally Championship and Team manager John Kennard summed it up best; "two events, two fantastic results."