PRESS RELEASE from Rally America
Mitsubishis Sweep The Podium At Oregon Trail Rally
The Dalles, OR (May 16, 2010) — The NOS Energy Mitsubishi team of Andrew Comrie-Picard and Jeremy Wimpey took a decisive win on the 2010 Oregon Trail Rally, round 4 of the Rally America National Championship. Comrie-Picard held a comfortable lead over the Mitsubishi crew of Bill Bacon and Peter Watt at the start of the final day and managed to increase his advantage by the final stage. Bacon focused more on maintaining his position by staying ahead of the overall Rally America Championship points leader Antoine L’Estage than trying to catch Comrie-Picard.
L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard drove their Rockstar Energy Mitsubishi EVO X to third place after dropping to seventeenth early on day two of the rally due to mechanical issues. L’Estage claimed every stage win on the third and final day of competition and now leads Bacon in the National Championship standings by 8 points.
This event was the first time in Rally America history to have an all-Mitsubishi national podium and was particularly rewarding for the winners, who are all privateers. The factory-backed teams of both Subaru and Ford were put out of the contest early on the second day of the rally after crashing their cars.
Subaru Rally Team USA’s Dave Mirra and Martin Headland rolled their car near the start of the Fir Mountain Long I stage (SS6) and were not able to continue. Monster World Rally Team’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino suffered the same fate on the second pass of the Fir Mountain stage (SS8), damaging their 2010 Ford Fiesta and retiring from the event.
This year’s Oregon Trail Rally was a grueling event that witnessed a heavy rate of attrition. Of the 61 starters, 24 crews had DNF’d by the end of day two and only 47 teams were able to start on the final day. Teams challenged Oregon’s unforgiving gravel logging and farm roads in the areas surrounding The Dalles and Dufur, battling hot, dusty conditions against the backdrop of the scenic Columbia River Gorge and towering Mt. Hood.
The trip out West was favorable for Pat Moro and co-driver Ole Hunter, who took the Super Production Class win. Moro’s podium finish at the Olympus Rally along with his Oregon Trail Rally win have launched him to second place in the Super Production Class Championship. Moro has overtaken his teammate Tim Rooney, who retired early on day two of the rally, in the SP title chase with only two events left on the calendar. Moro is now within striking distance of SP leaders Travis and Terry Hanson, who finished Oregon second in class to maintain the SP Championship lead. Able Planet Rally Team driver and 2009 Super Production winner, Jimmy Keeney, completed the podium with co-driver Jason Grahn for their first top three finish of the year.
Ramana Lagemann returned to the West Coast hoping to repeat his Olympus Rally Super Production win and was certainly on pace to do so, but a 17:30 minute penalty for speeding through a transit effectively knocked him out of contention.
The 2-Wheel-Drive Class saw a new winner with reigning 2009 2WD Champion, Dillon Van Way, securing his first overall class victory for the year. Van Way finished 1:15.3 minutes ahead of 2WD points leader Chris Duplessis. Duplessis was behind his usual pace while adapting to a newly-built Scion xD supported by 0-60 Magazine and Sparco, but finished second in 2WD with an unproven, underpowered car. Normally, Duplessis pilots a 1990 VW GTi and consistently beats other rally cars with twice as much horsepower. Dodge SRT-4 driver John Conley and co-driver Keith Rudolph held onto third in class and maintains his 2WD second place overall position.
In the opening round of the 2010 MaxAttack! 2WD Series, Cody Crane battled Dillon Van Way throughout the weekend, but ran into mechanical troubles late on day two. Crane had to rebuild his Honda CRX’s transmission overnight, forcing him to drive more conservatively on the final day of the rally. Van Way overtook Crane for the MaxAttack! win and Duplessis finished third. Gaylord Van Brocklin and Brian Gottllieb also claimed MaxAttack! cash prizes, finishing fourth and fifth respectively. The MaxAttack! Series now moves East to the New England Forest Rally in Sunday River, Maine on July 16-17 before the final MaxAttack! shootout at the Lake Superior Performance Rally in Houghton, Michigan.
The Trails End Regional Rally saw another Mitsubishi Lancer EVO in the top spot with Wolfgang Hoeck and Piers O’Hanlon beating Wagons Ho! Regional Rally winners Mark Mager and Jake Blattner by 1:32.5 minutes. Wolfgang also won the Shunpiker Stages Regional Rally on Saturday. Pacific Northwest team of Dave and Richard Hintz finished third on the podium.
The next round of the Rally America Championship is the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania on June 4-5. STPR is the last chance for teams to win valuable points towards receiving a Summer X Games 16 invitation to compete in the venerable Rally Car Racing event.