19 October, 2001 SCCA ProRally Championship - Round ...
19 October, 2001
SCCA ProRally Championship - Round #10 - Lake Superior
Resurgent Millen in Pursuit of a Podium
HOUGHTON, Michigan - Americas "Oldest Toughest" rally is living up to its name, picking off a few victims early into the evening, humbling some of the biggest names in North American and European rallying in the process. So far, the Lake Superior weather has been cooperating, with wind chills just above freezing, and sporadic light rain falling over most of the area. Compared to most runnings of the Lake Superior ProRally - this might as well be summer time.
* Rhys Millen, who may be tied with Noel Lawler for having the most frustrating drive of the season has pulled it all together this weekend, and is having a terrific run up the leaderboard. Despite earning a minutes worth of road points, the young Kiwi is living up to his fathers winning reputation in SCCA ProRally, and holds onto second place in the standings.
* Among the first casualties of the evening was the highly anticipated debut of David Higgins - who literally came from the other side of the globe - flying in from Russia, to run the fabled LSPR. Unfortunately, the engine in his just-built Subaru WRX let go on SS2, sidelining the fast Briton before he really got into the thick of things.
* The other remaining young British invader is Richard Tuthill, who is wringing Noel Lawlers Tiburon hard. Coming into the first service with overheating problems, the crew overcame that challenge, allowing Tuthill to maintain his steely concentration on getting the most out of the Hyundai, and currently holds onto 5th overall position.
* Also out early are Tom McGeer with engine failure, and Doug Shepherd, with an engine-oiling problem. Mark Lovell suffered a setback in SS2 as battery and half-shaft problems shut the car down on the transit to service - coming in on the end of a rope pulled by teammate Karl Scheible. Repairs were made quickly, and lost little time in making up most of the difference between himself and early race leader Seamus Burke.
* Burke and Cunningham's day did come to a sudden halt on SS6, rolling their Mitsubishi near the end of a long straightaway, wedging it between some trees. As seems to be the custom for the Irish duo, they managed to un-wedge it, and drive it back to service. Unlike their roll at Oregon Trail earlier this season, this time there were enough pieces missing and bent to convince the crew that their day was done. Burke was leading the rally at that point, with a minute or better margin over Mark Lovell.
* Day One's biggest jump in the standings was posted by Jason Rivas, who started 36th on the road and broke into his first ProRally top ten by the end of the night. Rivas is piloting an AvSport Subaru WRX, nearly identical to the one that David Higgins was driving.
* The two-wheel drive classes are all having good season ending racing, with Group 5 leader Tad Ohtake having the greatest challenge, holding a mere 7 second lead over Jeremy Butts. 2000 season champion Bob Neilsen is holding court over Eric Burmeister, with a just over one-minute margin, while Tom Young is really beginning to stretch out a comfortable lead over Production Class championship hopeful Craig Peeper.
* Day two festivities of the Lake Superior SCCA ProRally begins at 11:00 AM, with a Parc Expose in Houghton, with cars heading out to the northern tip of the Keweenaw just past noon.
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