|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||May 26, 1981|
PARIS, Texas -- Rod Millen of Santa Ana, Calif., and his co-driver Bob Kraushaar of Tigard, Ore., continue to storm on the Sports Car Club of America's PRO Rally Championship circuit. Driving a factory backed Mazda RX-7, the former New Zealand rally champion fought off a challenge from fellow countrymen John Woolf and Grant Whittaker in a similar Mazda to win the Chisum Trail Rally by less than one minute. Third in the all-night 305 mile event were 1980 SCCA PRO Rally Champions John Buffum and Doug Shepherd in their factory-prepared Audi 4000.
The win, Millen's fourth of the season, moves him and Mazda into a commanding lead in the championship points race ahead of Buffum. Fourth in the thunderstorm-plagued rally was the Michigan team of Larry Schmidt of Rochester and Joe Andreini, who now move into third in the overall standings.
Fifth overall and first in the production Class was the four-wheel-drive AMC Eagle SX-4 of Guy Light and Jim Brandt. It was only the second rally for the Michigan team in their new Eagle (they finished second in production two weeks ago at the Northern Lights rally in Michigan). The class win ended a string of four class wins of another Production team from Michigan, Jon Davis and his co-driver Harry Ward, although they were just over a minute back in their Saab 99. Davis/Ward and Saab continue, however, to hold a huge lead in the points standings with four wins and two seconds in the season first six events. Third in the Production Class went to the Dallas Texas team of Tom French and Dave Fremder in another Saab 99.
The opening of the rally on Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend gave no indication of the conditions which would hit the rally as night fell. In the opening stages, run in the daylight, Millen opened up a one minute lead and all of the top contenders were running strong. These included former Canadian National Rally Champion Jean-Paul Perusse of Montreal in his factory- backed Peugeot 504 V6, Volvo driver Wayne Baldwin in his factory assisted 16-valve Volvo GLT, Jon Woodner in his Cosworth powered Datsun 160J, and Eric Jones in his venerable Datsun 510. At the mid-point in the rally at Broken Bow, Oklahoma everyone was still going strong. Within the next two stages, these four drivers were out, and the leader was in trouble. The Peugeot packed up its rear-end, the Jones Datsun blew a clutch, the trick Volvo lost its head gasket, and Woodner after a series of troubles, put the Datsun off the road. Millen began to suffer a loss of power and was quite worried that he would not be able to protect his slim lead.
When the near-tornado conditions struck about 9pm, the organizers were forced the cancel four of the rally's 14 stages. That allowed Millen to hang on and fend off a late charge from Woolf, who was having his best ride of the season.
The PRO Rally crews have a very brief rest before heading for the woods of northern Pennsylvania and the Susquehannock Trails PRO Rally which will be held the weekend of June 13-14.
SCCA CONTACT: Tim Cline (203) 453-1742, T. Michael Moreland (303) 770-1044
EVENT; Chisum Trail EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Texas Region, SCCA LOCATION: Paris, Texas in cooperation with the United States DATE: May 23-24, 1981 Rally Group. ENTRANTS: 47 FINISHERS: 32 LENGTH: 305 miles, 10 stages WEATHER: Heavy rains TERRAIN; Forests, rolling hills. FIN CHAMP MFG POS. DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS 1. Rod Millen, Santa Ana, Calif. Mazda RX-7 1:20.65 20 20 Bob Kraushaar, Tigard, Ore. 20 2. John Woolf, Santa Ana, Calif. Mazda RX-7 1:21.48 15 Grant Whittaker, Santa Ana, Calif. 15 3. John Buffum, S. Burlington, Ver. Audi 4000 1:23.61 12 12 Doug Shepherd, Livonia, Mich. 12 4. Larry Schmidt, Rochester, Mich. Dodge Colt 1:31.18 10 10 Joe Andreini, St. Clair Shores, Mich. 10 5 (1P) Guy Light, Midland, Mich. AMC Eagle SX-4 1:31.83 8 8 Jim Brandt, Lake Odessa, Mich. 8 6 (2P) Jon Davis, Houghton, Mich. Saab 99 1:33.13 6 6 Harry Ward, Toledo, Ohio 6 7. John Smiskol, Crystal Lake, Ill. Triumph TR-7 1:37.06 4 Walt Krafft, Hinsdale, Ill. 4 8. Phil Pilcher, Memphis, Tenn. Saab 99 1:37.56 3 Tom Mitchell, Memphis, Tenn. 3 9. Steve Nowicki, New Berlin, Wis. Datsun 510 1:39.50 2 James Garton, Waukesha, Wis. 2 10. Eric Ford, Garland, Tex. Kelmark GT 1:42.81 1 Mark Long, Richardson, Tex. 1 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1. Guy Light, Midland, Mich. AMC Eagle SX-4 1:31.83 20 20 Jim Brandt, Lake Odessa, Mich. 20 2. Jon Davis, Houghton, Mich. Saab 99 1:33.13 15 15 Harry Ward, Toledo, Ohio 15 3. Tom French, Irving, Tex. Saab 99 1:46.45 12 Dave Fremder, Rowlett, Tex. 12 UNITED STATES RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER SIX EVENTS DRIVER PRODUCTION DRIVER 1. Rod Millen 107 1. Jon Davis 110 2. John Buffum 59 2. Gary Eaton 63 3. Larry Schmidt 42 3. Guy Light 35 4. Taisto Heinonen 35 5. John Woolf 32 CO-DRIVER PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER 1. Bob Kraushaar 107 1. Harry Ward 110 2. Doug Shepherd 74 2. Carolyn Eaton 63 3. Joe Andreini 42 3. Jim Brandt 35 4. Tom Burgess 35 5. Grant Whittaker 32 MANUFACTURER PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER 1. Mazda 107 1. Saab 110 2. Peugeot 75 2. Peugeot 63 3 Dodge 42 3. Dodge 48 4. Toyota 35 5 Audi 24