RALLY: ProRally: Rim of the World: Final report

SCCA® ProRally Championship - Round 4 - Rim of the World David Higgins makes it 3 for 3, Hyundai extends lead. PALMDALE, California -- Three consecutive wins with three different co-drivers have marked Independent David Higgins as the man who...

SCCA® ProRally Championship - Round 4 - Rim of the World

David Higgins makes it 3 for 3, Hyundai extends lead.

PALMDALE, California -- Three consecutive wins with three different co-drivers have marked Independent David Higgins as the man who has clearly set his mind to conquering the series, but all three works teams are not about to make it easy. Hyundai, who have now put most of their early development issues behind them, dominated this event first with Choiniere, then with Mark Higgins, but a front suspension problem late in the day put them insurmountably behind. Subaru too was in the hunt, despite a big roll-over with Mark Lovell on day one, also created at time loss that was more than the team could make up.

Key Notes & Quotes:

* As is always the case at Rim, the punishing high-desert environment took its toll on equipment, with 18 Pro series retirements over the 2-day rally. Gratefully, only 2001 Overall Champion Mark Lovell's fully functional but thoroughly wrinkled Subaru WRX looked the worse for wear at the conclusion of the event, with nearly all retirements coming from equipment failures caused by the pounding the cars take over the challenging and fiercely dusty Angeles National Forest roads. Said Lovell at the finish: "We are lucky to be here, and despite the less than perfect weekend for us, we really do enjoy this event, and look forward to being here next year - the (organizing) committee has made huge strides forward from last year, and the field of cars was truly impressive."

* Visiting Subaru/Prodrive WRC driver Petter Solberg had the opportunity to experience the Rim of the World roads firsthand, and agreed with what other visitors to the event have said in the past - that the conditions here are very similar to the Acropolis and Cypress rallys - two of the toughest and most challenging rallys in the World Rally Championship.

* 2001 Group N Champion Karl Scheible, this time rallying in Open class with father and series veteran Wayne Scheible co-driving had a terrific welcome back to the Championship, taking the third place podium, and announcing that he would also be at his home event and Round 5 of the Championship, Susquehannock Trail, at the end of this month.

* The Overall Manufacturer's Championship has taken yet another interesting turn, with Mitsubishi's DNF of both their Open class entries, forcing them to give up their 2nd place position to Subaru, but both companys saw Hyundai pull further away, aided by the resurgent teams solid 2nd place podium position. Mitsubishi did have a bit of good luck however, with Lauchlin O'Sullivans first place finish in Group 2, allowing them to extend their lead over Eric Burmeister's Mazda by 7 more points. As the Championship heads east, to roads that are much better known by the Burmeister Motorsports team, this bit of points padding could prove to be useful insurance.

* The Drivers Championship as the series heads to its mid-year point, is firmly in the hands of David Higgins, who at (unofficially) 67 points now has a substantial margin over brother Mark Higgins at 50, and Mark Lovell, at 44. Mark Nelson was this weekend's fast riser, earning 10 points, tying him with Rhys Millen at 25 points. The Co-Drivers' Championship, by virtue of the frequent co-driver changes at Subaru and with David Higgins (who has changed co-drivers for the last three events) is a completely different story. Hyundai's Michael Gibson in the lead at 50, Subaru's Steve Turvey in second at 43, and Mitsubishi's Garry Cowan tied with Independent Charles Bradley at 25 for third.

* The SCCA ProRally Championship switches coasts for Round 5, heading to the lush eastern forests in the Endless Mountains of north central Pennsylvania for the oldest and fastest rally in the series - the Susquehannock Trail Rally, on June 1.

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 Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Subaru, and is televised in North America on SpeedChannel. Time and date listing information available at www.speedtv.com

-scca pro rally-

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Mark Nelson , Mark Lovell , Rhys Millen , Mark Higgins , Petter Solberg , Eric Burmeister , David Higgins , Michael Gibson