ProRally: Sno*Drift: Season opener notes of interest, schedule

SCCA ProRally Championship Round 1 -- Sno*Drift Rally TOPEKA, KS First round (of nine) for the 2003 season. An estimated field of over 60 SCCA and FIA Performance Rally cars from across North America will race on demanding snow-and ice-covered...

SCCA ProRally Championship Round 1 -- Sno*Drift Rally TOPEKA, KS First round (of nine) for the 2003 season. An estimated field of over 60 SCCA and FIA Performance Rally cars from across North America will race on demanding snow-and ice-covered roads at the northern tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. This televised event is sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).

When & Where:
* January 25-26, 2002; Atlanta, MI; approximately 100 miles (160km) north of Saginaw, MI, 35 miles west of Gaylord, MI.
* Time zone at event: Eastern Time (same as New York)

Schedule: (condensed - full entrant schedule details available at www.sno-drift.org )

Friday, 24 January, 2003
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM Parc Expose - Kneeland Street - Lewiston
3:01 PM sharp First car starts Sno*Drift Rally - Kneeland Street -Lewiston
4:45 PM First car arrives for Service - Lewiston
7:10 PM First car completes Day One of Sno*Drift Rally - Lewiston

Saturday, 25 January, 2003
8:01 AM sharp First car starts Day Two of Sno*Drift Rally - Teets & West Rd - Atlanta
9:15 AM First car arrives for Service #1 - Old School Building - Atlanta
12:45 PM First car arrives for Service #2 - Old School Building - Atlanta
3:15 PM First car arrives for Service #3 - Old School Building - Atlanta
6:35 PM First car finishes Sno*Drift Rally - Hillman Community Center
8:30 PM Awards ceremony - Hillman Community Center

Format:
All events in the SCCA ProRally Championship consist of flat-out against the clock competition, in any weather, on challenging forest, mountain or desert roads. SCCA Performance Rally events follow a format similar to that used around the globe.

At-speed competition takes place only on "special stages," using challenging roads closed by local authorities for the event. "Transits" connect the "special stage" sections together and are driven at posted speeds, with teams fully subject to all traffic laws.

SCCA Performance Rally vehicles are production-based cars from manufacturers around the world. They compete both for the overall victory and wins within a class structure that groups together vehicles with similar performance capabilities.

Each vehicle carries a driver and a co-driver/navigator. Using a detailed route book and a rally computer, the co-driver keeps the team on-course and advises the driver of any hazards ahead. This role is as critical as the driver's skill, since the team is traveling at speed over roads they have not seen, in any type of weather.

Selected Entries and Additional News:

While the SCCA rules allow teams to enter their previous-season's cars at Sno*Drift, several teams will be debuting all new sheet metal this year:

* Mitsubishi Rally Team USA, which made news here last year with the debut of the only works-backed Group 2 Lancer rally car in the world, returns this year with a completely new team, new cars and except for one key player - all new combatants: 2002 Group 2 Driver and Woodner Cup recipient Lauchlin O'Sullivan gets a new co-driver: Mark Williams, formerly of Subaru Rally Team Canada, and is joined by 2002 Driver Champion David Higgins with Daniel Barritt.

* Group N runner-up Tim O'Neil makes the jump to Open class, in an all-new Ford Focus - the first Focus seen in the SCCA's top class. Fielded by Andy Brown's AV Sport, and sponsored by the US AirForce Reserve, expect this unique entry to stir up some real commotion at the head of the pack.

* Dodge makes their debut as a member of the SCCA ProRally Manufacturers Championship, fielding a Group 2 Neon SXT, with Christopher Whiteman and Michael Paulin in charge.

* Subaru Rally Team USA will be holding back their all-new, and rumored to be quite radical WRX-STi's for debut at Rim of the World in May, but will have 2001 Champion Mark Lovell, and rising American star Ramana Lagemann on hand in the last appearance of their 2002 WRX's

* British Rally Championship regulars, and defending 2002 overall champion Jonny Milner, with Duncan McGrath will be doing dual duty this year, gunning for the Group N Championship here, and Milner will be defending his championship back in the United Kingdom.

The Sno*Drift Rally this year moves the pre-event Parc Expose, start and Day-One Service to nearby Lewiston. On Day Two, Sno*Drift's popular single location layout returns to its traditional home, the compact village of Atlanta, MI as operations headquarters, the location of the restart and all services. Sno*Drift has a long-standing reputation as one of the most fan friendly and easiest press coverage events of the SCCA ProRally season, and this year should be no different.

Event Rank:
Sno*Drift is a full-points round for Driver & Manufacturer Championships in the SCCA ProRally.

The SCCA ProRally Championship is presented by Mitsubishi and Subaru, and is televised in North America on SpeedChannel. Time and date listing information available at www.speedtv.com

-scca pro rally-

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Mark Lovell , Tim O'Neil , David Higgins , Daniel Barritt , Mark Williams
Teams Williams