ProRally: Susquehannock Trail Notes #9 and #10

Susquehannock Trail PRO Rally Round ...

Susquehannock Trail PRO Rally Round #5 - 1998 Michelin PRO Rally Championship Wellsboro, Pennsylvania Notes #9 - Sunday, June 7 - noon

24. In the overall national points, Carl Merrill, with his best effort of the season, now leads the series with 49 points, with David Summerbell having 42 points and Paul Choiniere 36. With only four events left, the best six finishes counting for the championship, any of the leaders who DNF from here on in will put themselves in difficulty.

25. The Bryan Pepp/Jerry Stang Eagle Talon had a good run to finish second in class after running into a myriad of early problems, including cracked brake rotor in the water crossing and a busted cooler line after hitting a burm. They finished only 30 seconds behind the Landau Marcus Eclipse.

26. One of the pre-rally favorites for a Group 2 win and a top ten finish was the Chris Havas/Eric Tremblay VW GTI. They lost third gear early in the event, and while going back and forth between second and fourth gear, the clutch began to slip badly. The bell housing broke, and oil went all over the clutch. Havas tried to replace the transmission at the dinner service, but was unable to complete the work, and was a DNF. The pair got the stock transmission in after the fact, and ran a couple of stages from Germania, but dropped out again after stage 10.

27. Another cracked rotor victim was the Jim Anderson/Martin Dapot Honda Prelude VTEC, and along with his new power deficit in Group 5 (the car used to be eligible for Production class - in fact, Jim is the 1996 Production class champion), he was having a hard time keeping up with class leaders Ralph Kosmides and Rick Davis. Kosmides was having his own problems in the Toyota Supra, having to change a master cylinder at the dinner break and later DNFing after stage #7 due to electrical problems.

28. The Vinnie Frontinan/Frank Cunningham VW Corrado had its first national PRO Rally finish, but Vinnie finished sixth instead of third in Group 5 because the organizer caught him going 41 mph in a 30 mph transit zone.

29. The Kurt Thiel/George Thompson VW GTI lost its transmission as they chipped second gear early in the day, and dropped out after stage #5.

30. The Honda Civic CVT of Jay Kowalik/Scott Embree, winners in the Production class, said that he lifts off the throttle, there is no engine breaking, so he is using up his brakes to keep the car on the road. He had to back off often during the event in order to keep from overheating the brakes.

31. The winning Landau/Marcus Production GT Eclipse has a myriad of problems, not the least of which was several missing route book pages which were graciously replaced by a stage captain. The team replaced an alternator, and then finished the rally on three cylinders and a burnt piston.

Susquehannock Trail PRO Rally Round #5 - 1998 Michelin PRO Rally Championship Wellsboro, Pennsylvania Notes #10 - Sunday, June 7 - 2:00 PM

32. The Garen Shrader/Doc Shrader Ford Sierra Cosworth finished its first rally this weekend, with both driver seat time and fuel management issues working themselves out in fine form for a top 20 finish.

33. The Steve Gingras/Bill Westrick Eagle Talon, which might have finished in the top three overall at their first five stage pace, but a broken main buss fuse failure - possibly caused by an overheating O2 sensor - brought their day to a close in PGT.

34. The Mike Hurst/Rob Bohn Porsche 911 was going slower than Hurst would have liked due to his stomach flu, which caused him to forgo all his regular meals for the last 48 hours. Hurst wanted to stay in the middle of the road as to not wreck the car as the Porsche is for sale.

35. The Bruce Newey/David Payne Toyota Celica, which was in the top five last year, did not have as good luck this year as he rolled his car after the dinner break. Although driveable - and Newey finished fifth in Group 5 - the car did not run right the rest of the event. During the course of the event, they lost their turbo and lost their clutch enroute to their fifth place finish in Group 5.

36. The Lesley Suddard/Marc Goldfarb Dodge Shelby Charger is down about 100 hp from its original race configuration, but Lesley has to change the fuel feed and cooling system before she put on a new head so she doesn't blow the motor again. The original damage was done last year at the Rim of the World and Wild West events.

37. The Jon Kemp/Gail McGuire Audi 4000 Quattro finished in the top six for the second year in a row in a field that featured even more competitive Open class cars. Kemp turned fast stages throughout the event, and challenged for a top-three spot right to the end.

38. Although they won the event by more than three minutes, the Sprongl/Sprongl Audi Quattro S-2 lost about 45 seconds to Carl Merrill on stage #7 when they spun in a turn and hit a rock out of the spin. There was only cosmetic damage to the car, however, and the brothers continued at speed.

39. Although the rally never went to two minute windows, dust was certainly a factor later in the evening as several cars, including the Jon Nichols GTI, went off the road when they couldn't see. On stage #10, Nichols bent the rear axle, which probably cost him a third-place finish.

40. The Greg Healey/John MacLeod Dodge Ram 50 pick-up, leading the Production class after 10 stages, simply wore out its tire over the last stages, and left its lead slip away to the Kowalik Honda.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Paul Choiniere , Ralph Kosmides , Frank Cunningham , Jon Nichols , Marc Goldfarb , Kurt Thiel , Greg Healey , Jim Anderson