|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
Date: May 22, 2000
|Contact: Dave Sharp|
Edson, Alberta- Six-time Canadian driving champion Frank Sprongl won the Bighorn Rally in Alberta for the fourth year in a row on Sunday. The win puts the Mississauga, Ontario driver back into the lead of the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama, after three rounds. He had trailed Tom McGeer after problems in the previous event, but is now two points (52-50) ahead of him.
Sprongl completed 162 kilometres of special stages - the timed sections on roads temporarily closed to the public - in one hour, 29 minutes and 33 seconds for an average speed of 108.54 kph. Driving an Audi Quattro, with brother Dan as his navigator, he finished 37 seconds ahead of McGeer, who emerged on top of an intense three-way battle for second place with Quebec drivers Sylvain Vincent and Jean-Marc Alcaraz. "It was a lot of tight competition, with four cars swapping fast times, but 37 seconds is still enough for a win," said Sprongl, who was quickest on eight of the 16 special stages. "The road surface was quite abrasive, so we went to the hardest compound Yokohama tires we had. On the third-to-last stage, we had a flat tire, but it didn't cost us that much time."
Second-placed McGeer finished just one second ahead of Vincent, who was in turn four seconds ahead of Alcaraz. McGeer, of Georgetown, Ontario, was quickest on four stages in his Subaru Impreza, with American Mark Williams as his navigator. He said he had never had to work so hard at the end of a rally.
Vincent, of La Plaine, was third for the third time this year in his Subaru Impreza, navigated by Dominique Cyr. He is also third in the overall standings with 39 points (13 behind Sprongl). "It was a hell of a fight - hard, hard driving all the way," said Vincent. "I did my best with what I had, but my problem was that I didn't bring enough tires. I only had the soft compounds."
Alcaraz, of St-Lambert-de-Levis, was quickest on four stages in his Mazda 323, despite the fact that his radio communication with navigator Shirley Normandin was broken. He could not hear her, so she was trying to give him directions by using hand signals. "I'm lucky to finish this rally," said Alcaraz. His communication problem caused him to miss one right-hand corner and go off the road. "It was only grass there and I was able to come back. I was lucky it was not trees."
The rally was held mostly on forest roads around Edson, which is about 200 kilometres west of Edmonton, although it began with two "spectator stages" in a park in the town. Those stages were won by Barry Latreille, of Williamston, Ontario, who went on to finish fifth overall in his Eagle Talon. Patrick Richard, of Vancouver, was sixth in a Subaru Impreza and he took top Production GT class honors for a second straight rally.
Steve Walkington, of Montreal, won in the Production Sport class in a VW Scirocco, while in 1750cc, Mark Krawczyk, of Mississauga, took his third win of the year in a Subaru Justy. Gord Olsen, of Brooks, Alta., won the Group 2 class in a VW Golf.
The eight-event Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama, continues with the Rocky Mountain Rally, out of Calgary, next Saturday (May 27).
RESULTS of the BIGHORN RALLY, Round 3 of the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama (driver, navigator, hometowns, car, time and winner's speed):
1. Frank Sprongl / Dan Sprongl, Mississauga, Ont., Audi Quattro, 1h29m33s (108.54 kph)
2. Tom McGeer, Georgetown, Ont. / Mark Williams, U.S., Subaru Impreza, 1h30m10s
3. Sylvain Vincent / Dominique Cyr, La Plaine, Que., Subaru Impreza, 1h30m11s
4. Jean-Marc Alcaraz, St-Lambert-de-Levis, Que. / Shirley Normandin, Laval, Que., Mazda 323, 1h30m15s
5. Barry Latreille / Sandra Latreille, Williamston, Ont., Eagle Talon, 1h33m40s
6. Patrick Richard, Vancouver, B.C. / Ian McCurdy, Whistler, B.C., Subaru Impreza, 1h38m56s
7. Brian Scott / David Watts, U.S., Eagle Talon, 1h40m28s
8. Janusz Komorowski / Tomasz Karzynski, Calgary, Alta., 1h41m45s
9. Marc Racine, Rawdon, Que. / Luc Piche, St-Saveur, Que., Subaru Legacy, 1h41m48s
10. Gord Olsen / Kathy Olsen, Brooks, Alta., VW Golf, 1h42m55s
For more information:
Terry Epp, (905) 640-6444
David Hatter, (613) 231-3248