Baja 1000: Wide Open Baja race summary

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., (November 26, 2002) - Taking advantage of lessons learned over three previous years and the addition of new Yqkohama Geolandar tires constructed specifically for this race, Wide Open Baja and the "2002 Yokohama ...

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., (November 26, 2002) - Taking advantage of lessons learned over three previous years and the addition of new Yqkohama Geolandar tires constructed specifically for this race, Wide Open Baja and the "2002 Yokohama Gealandar Ultimate Baja Challenge" made SCORE Baja 1000 history this weekend as the first single four-wheeler entrant or manufacturer ever to post a 100 percent finishing record with multiple vehicles. Wide Open Baja's performance defied the SCORE Baja 1000's 35-year average for race finishers, which normally stands at just over 50 percent.

Adding an additional victory to the outstanding performance was the class 31 win by lkuo Hanawa and Matt Ford in a Yokohama Geolandar-sponsored Mitsubishi Montero, a vehicle prepared in Japan by Hanawa himself and supported each year by the Wide Open staff.

For the third consecutive year, the worlds of professional auto racing, journalism, media and high adventure combined for the Yokohama Geolandar Ultimate Eaja Challenge, the world's most unique rnotorsporks Pro-Am event. Each team of drivers piloted specially designed Wide Open Challenge cars featuring Yokohama Geolandar A/T + II tires, 20" of suspension travel and highly reliable 2.4-liter Porsche powerplants. This year's field of VIP drivers included CART driver Michel Jourdain Jr., 24 Hours of Daytona winner Elliott Forbes-Robinson, lndy car veteran Roberto Guerrero, IRL and ABC Sports personality Paul Page, five-time SCORE Eaja 1000 champion Ryan Thomas and Wide Open founder Todd Clement.

The event was won by one of three "Team Centrix" vehicles created especially for their debut at this year's SCORE Eaja 1000, with the lead car driven by Centrix Financial chairman and CEO Robert Su`don of Englewood, Colo. Sutton was teamed in the victory with thrae-time event participant Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Wally Fisk Ill and Centrix Financial Executive Vice President Bob Poloskey, who drove the car across the finish line. The team covered the rugged Baja peninsula in a time of 23:31:20, good for an average speed of 43.25rnpl-1 over the rugged 1 ,0 l 8-mile course.

Not a typical "Pro-Am" event in terms of intensity or competitiveness, this year's race was the hardest fought in the event's thrae-year history, with the fight for the lead swapped among Several cars throughout the long and dark Eaja night. The winning BC2 machine edged out the second place EC5 of Jeff Stone by just over 20 minutes, while the third place finishing BC3 of Andrew Hassard arrived in La Paz over 90 minutes later. The t w o remaining Team Centrix race cars took the fourth and fifth positions in the final finishing order. After a quick start under the highly skilled hands of five-time Baja 1000 race winner Ryan Thomas, the black Team Centrix BC6 machine found it5 way to La Paz in time o f 26:45:O7. Wide Open Eaja founder Todd Clement overcame several setbacks to bring the golden B C I car home in an overall time of 29:36:02.

Sixth place went to the effort of John Schneiderl Kip HambletlMark Goggin and Dan Bezaire in a time of 29:52:40, while the Yokohama Gealandar car driven by Jeff SCOW Dave Newhardtl Paul Page/Sue Mead came home in 32;17;18.

"This year's success at the SCORE Baja 1000 is the culminatian of many great people and many great corporate partnerships coming together for a common goal, "explained Todd Clement. "Having eight cars start in Ensenada and having eight cars finish in La Paz Is a tribute to the hard work of the Wide Open staff, the unending enthusiasm of our chase crews, the support of Yokohama Geolandar and the talent o f our drivers. The Yokohama Geolandar Ultimate Eaja Challenge really reached a new level this year, and we look forward to hosting an even better event in 2003."

Wide Open Adventures is actively supported by Yokohama Tire, Centrix Financial, American Racing Wheels, Bilstein, SnugTop, Lowrance, PIAA, Auto Meter, Valvoline, Duralast: and Eibach.

The event also hosted Motor Trend journalists Chris Walton and Dave Newhardt, along with writers Sue Mead and Jeremy Cook. In addition, the Team Centrix odessey was filmed in its entirety as part of a high definition video documentary being produced at the Tecate SCORE Eaja 1000 by award-winning film maker Jim Astrausky and his Essex Television group, The show, tentatively entitled; SCORE Baja 1000: Four Stories," is sat for completion in March, 2003.

Eased in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Wide Open Adventures has provided high-speed guided tours of the Eaja peninsula to thousands of adventure enthusiasts since 1997, along with numerous corporate travel programs. The company has complete shop and offices facilities located in California a n d Ensenada, Mexico, and a new adventure experience park in Caba San Lucas, Mexico.

-wob-

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Series Score
Drivers Roberto Guerrero , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , John Schneider , Michel Jourdain