SCCA ProRally Championship - Round ...
SCCA ProRally Championship - Round #10 - Lake Superior
Lovell wins by a Nose over Millen, Richard Earns 1st US Podium
HOUGHTON, Michigan - Americas "Oldest Toughest" rally will also now be known as the "Closest Finishing" rally - as the top four drivers: Scheible, Lovell, Millen and Richard battled the entire day with never more than a total of one minute separating them after nearly 500 miles of rallying in the far reaches of Northern Michigan.
* Mark Lovell and Rhys Millen were locked in an even tie going into the final stage of the rally, with a single eight-mile stage to decide it all, and a revved up Patrick Richard hot on their heels. The stakes were high too - while the overall Driver's championship was already decided, Mitsubishi and Subaru were locked in a points battle for Open Class Manufacturer honors. In the end, Lovell won out, but by the slimmest of margins - just 3 seconds separating him from Rhys Millen.
* Cooperative weather and generally smooth and fast roads kept attrition low on day two, with just five retirements, all but one mechanically related. Richard Tuthill's run with Hyundai came to a halt after SS14, the team withdrawing the car with terminal overheating maladies. Until that point Tuthill was maintaining a comfortable top-ten position. Robert Nielsen, last years Group 2 Champion had a shunt in the final stage of the afternoon while in a comfortable lead - opening the door for LSPR rookie James Robinson to claim his first Group 2 victory
* A new record was set at the famous "Brockway Mountain" - America's only true all-tarmac special stage, and possibly one of the most thrilling three and a half miles of asphalt rally road in North America. Full of high speed dips and jumps, with plenty of no-fooling around drop offs at many of the turns, the record, stood at just under 3 minutes for many years, and was regarded by many as virtually un-beatable. However, the weather cleared significantly in the early afternoon, and the paddock buzz at the service just prior to the running of the stage was all about who was going to break the record. That who turned out to be none other than the high-flying Patrick Richard who took his Prodrive Group N car - which shouldn't have been faster than the Open class cars - and schooled the rest of the field, breaking the unofficial record by nearly half a minute.
* The Production Class win was earned by the smooth and steady driving of Craig Peeper, as year-end Production Class Champion hopeful Tony Chavez took the smart route and stayed out of trouble, clinching the series win.
* The closest win of the weekend was in Group 5 as a battle of the Fords was wrangled all day long. At the end of the day, the class, and the coveted Woodner Cup year-end award was won by Tad Ohtake and his faithful green Escort ZX2, over Jeremy Butts Ford Mustang 5.0, by a mere one second.
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The SCCA ProRally Championship is presented by Hyundai and Subaru