WELLSBORO, Pa. (June 8, 2003) - One is a good start. Two is special. Three is David Higgins. After starting sixth on Saturday morning, the U.K. native systematically made his way to the top spot and notched his third-consecutive 2003 SCCA ...
WELLSBORO, Pa. (June 8, 2003) - One is a good start. Two is special. Three is David Higgins. After starting sixth on Saturday morning, the U.K. native systematically made his way to the top spot and notched his third-consecutive 2003 SCCA ProRally Championship win for Mitsubishi Team Motorsports America at the Susquehannock Trail ProRally (STPR).
Higgins and co-driver Daniel Barritt won the race by more than six minutes over second-place finishers Tim O'Neil, and Alex Gelsomino. In his first event of the 2003 Championship season, Paul Choiniere re-united with long-time co-driving partner Jeff Becker and finished nearly four minutes behind O'Neil in third. The podium appearances were firsts for both drivers this year. Visiting Canadian Group N Class Drivers Peter Thomson and championship regular Mark Utecht completed the top five.
Key Notes & Quotes: "The car was fantastic," said Higgins, who also padded his John Woolf Cup (Drivers' Championship) standings lead with the win. "It ran well. We took care of the small electrical problem we had after the morning session and everything after that was A-1. "We had an excellent choice of equipment for each of the weather conditions, and even though it got a bit foggy at the end, we were able to get through it."
Only 37 of the 64 cars that began the race made it through the slick, muddy roads of the Pennsylvania countryside to the finish. Not in that group, for the second time this season, were both Subaru Rally Team USA entries. Team Subaru came into the weekend determined to shrink the Manufacturers' Championship point separation between themselves and Team Mitsubishi, but that opportunity vanished early as both Mark Lovell and Ramana Lagemann suffered clutch failures and were forced to turn in a pair of DNFs.
Higgins' teammate, Lauchlin O'Sullivan, was in prime condition to make it a Mitsubishi sweep of the weekend, but in Special Stage Six (SS6), his radiator broke, and with that, suffered the first Team Mitsubishi DNF of the year.
Also felled by the course was Jonny Milner, who was vying for his first Group N class victory of the season after competing in the Open class at the first two events of the year. Milner, who hopped into second overall after O'Sullivan's mechanical failure, was in second place going into stage eight of the 10-stage rally. However, a suspension wishbone failed, finishing his evening and handing the Group N win to Thomson.
In other classes, Eoin McGeough, along with co-driver Pauric Connolly, won the Production GT class in their Subaru Impreza WRX and finished tenth overall, the only PGT car in the top 20. Driving their Volkswagen Golf GTi, Chris Havas and co-driver Dave Kean captured the Group 5 win while finishing 11th overall and Eric Burmeister, along with Cindy Krolikowski, was solid all event long in winning Group 2 and earning much needed Manufacturer points for Mazda, finishing 16th overall. In the Production Class, Mike Halley's Volkswagen New Beetle was the last car standing out of three entries while he came in 36th.
Round Four of the 2003 SCCA ProRally Championship heads to the Rocky Mountains for the 81st "Run to the Clouds" at the Falken Tire Pike's Peak International Hill Climb, June 28. For more information for this event, visit www.scca.com or www.ppihc.com.
* SCCA ProRally: www.scca.com * SCCA Susquehannock Trail ProRally: www.stpr.org
The SCCA name and logo is a registered trademark of the Sports Car Club of America, Inc. ProRally, ClubRally and RallyCross are service marks of the SCCA.
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
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