ELK RIVER, Minnesota - Veteran rally driver Steve Gingras (of Elk River) added another National Championship to his resume by winning the Open Class title in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) ClubRally National Championships held in Missouri.
ELK RIVER, Minnesota - Veteran rally driver Steve Gingras (of Elk River) added another National Championship to his resume by winning the Open Class title in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) ClubRally National Championships held in Missouri. Gingras and co-driver Bill Westrick (of Royal Oak, Mchigan) piloted their Act II Popcorn sponsored Subaru WRX to the award, based on combined times from the "Trespassers Wil" and "100 Acre Wood" ClubRallys.
"The competition has gotten tougher on rallies in the past few years, so I really had to work hard for this one," said Gingras. "We had help from a new sponsor, Rally Performance (www.rallyperformance.com), who reprogrammed the Engine Control Unit for more turbo boost, power and torque. We had a problem with the transmission shifter that slowed us a little, but we probably only gave up a few seconds per stage."
Gingras qualified to compete in the ClubRally National Championships by finishing second in Open Class points in the SCCA Central Division in 2003. Gingras took three wins overall out of five ClubRallys entered last year. Two other co-drivers helped Gingras during 2003, Phil Strohm and Alan Perry.
Gingras and Westrick placed first among the drivers vying for the championship on Trespassers Wil, and second on the 100 Acre Wood. Their primary competition was the Subaru Impreza RS of Piotr Wiktorczyk and Mark McAllister. The stage times between the two teams were only seconds apart for most of the event, but Wiktorczyk was slowed on Friday night's Trespassers Wil Rally by a lighting problem that ultimately cost the team 49 seconds on two stages run after sunset. Wiktorczyk and McAllister came back on Saturday's 100 Acre Wood Rally to beat Gingras and Westrick by only three seconds, but it was not enough for them to capture the Open Class title. The final cumulative margin of victory for Gingras/Westrick was 46 seconds.
Gingras already has won national titles in the SCCA ProRally Championship in the Production GT category in 1997 and 1998, andd was second in PGT points in 2000. Westrick was the ProRally Championship winning co-driver in Production GT in 1997 and 2000. The duo also won the Class O4 (Open, 4- wheel drive) Divisional Championships in Central Division in 1997.
The SCCA ClubRally National Championships are a winner-takes-all style event held each February, based out of Salem, Missouri. The top three drivers in points from each of SCCA's eight Divisions, in each of five classes, are invited to participate for the National Championships. Champions are determined in Open (Unlimited) Class, Production, Production GT, Group 5 and Group 2. Over thirty teams made the trip from all points across the United States to participate in this year's CRNC. More information on the SCCA ClubRally national Championships can be found at www.scca.org, or by calling Curtis Kitchen at 1-800-770-2055.
More details on Steve Gingras and Gingras RallySport at www.GingrasRallysport.com.