Wild West International ProRally
Round 8 of the 2003 SCCA ProRally Championship
September 6-7, 2003
Wild West Website *
ProRally Results *
DUST IT OFF: COMPETITORS BACK AFTER TWO WEEKS,
DRY CONDITIONS MAJOR CONCERN
OLYMPIA, Wash. (Sept. 4, 2003) - Images of the old and rugged wild west conjure up thoughts of
tumbleweed, dust and shootouts. Except for the lack of tumbleweed in the Pacific Northwest, the Wild West
International Rally should have them all, as rain, or the lack thereof, is the dominant topic of
conversation as the ceremonial start to the eighth round of the 2003 SCCA ProRally Championship, which is
just 12 hours away.
Early reports from officials are that dust will be a major problem this weekend for competitors. The dust
could be so bad this weekend that no amount of dust window between cars will help ease the situation. This
newest concern is just the latest of several environmental concerns for Wild West organizers.
Portions of the Rally are subject to change or cancellation altogether according to the Wild West website,
due to extremely dry conditions in the Washington forests. As a result, a fire-danger schedule may be in
effect. The schedule would not allow any cars into the stage areas between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
If that does end up being the case and organizers are able to reassign positions fast enough, a few of the
stages may be moved to the nighttime and overnight hours. A final decision will be made early Friday.
Thursday’s forecast from the regional National Weather Service Forecast Office said that while temperatures
have been in the 80s for an extended period, it should cool down into the 70s by Saturday. Overnight lows
will drop into the 40s and 50s. However, rain is not expected to move in from the Pacific Ocean until
overnight on Saturday and then again sometime Sunday afternoon, which means the fire danger will remain
very high for most of the event.
Subaru Rally Team USA is ready for its newest team to hit the road. The Finnish duo of Pasi Hagström and
co-driver Marko Taskinen will make their U.S. debut in an attempt to get Subaru back to the top of the
podium. Hagström has several World Rally events under his belt and should be a major boost for Team
Subaru. Even with the dust, all indications are that he will provide more than ample competition for this
season’s overall driving champion, Team Mitsubishi Motorsports America’s David Higgins.
Higgins won the John Woolf Cup after winning the Ojibwe Forests Rally two weeks ago. The win was his
sixth of the year.
FIA Group N competitors Mark Utecht and Shane Mitchell will be back at it once again at this event. The
class point race has been a fierce one all season and this event should be no different. Utecht held a slight
advantage over Mitchell before Ojibwe and maintained his six-point advantage over Mitchell (38-32) after the
competitors tied last event.
Mitchell was originally declared the winner through FIA tie-breaker procedure interpretation. Utecht
appealed that decision and asked that both competitors be awarded second-place points. His appeal was
upheld, giving the competitors their current point totals. With two events remaining this season, pressure
for the two drivers is at a maximum as a $25,000 prize awaits the season’s top Group N Subaru driver.
For Immediate Release
Sept. 5, 2003
Start Order & Late Breaking News:
Olympia, Wash. - As the last few cars rolled over the ceremonial bridge start at St. Martin’s College at
twilight, two things became apparent. Team Mitsubishi Motorsports America driver David Higgins, winner
of six out of seven events so far this season, will be hard pressed to grab win number seven and two,
weather will play a factor in deciding the outcome.
Two new teams are set to challenge Higgins this weekend, both having drivers who have extensive World
Rally Championship experience. Finland’s Pasi Hagström and co-driver Marko Taskinen have joined
Subaru Rally Team USA in effort to finish 2003 in strong fashion. Hagström is a former Finnish National
Rally Champion and is slated to be the first car out after drawing the top spot in Friday’s seed zero, open-
Also joining the SCCA Championship for the first time is the Italian privateer duo, Alfredo De Dominicis
and co-driver Danilo Fappani. The Italian pair are ready to go after Friday’s shakedown stage as well they
should be considering they were one of the first three cars to enter the final practice session which meant
ample time to dial in their car.
As the weekend draws closer, the chance of rain appears to be increasing for overnight Saturday and
most of Sunday. While National Weather forecasts did not put a percentage on the chance of rain, it did
say that precipitation was likely. Temperatures are also forecast to drop from the mid 80s to the upper
60s by Sunday. This means that drivers and teams will have to battle not only each other this weekend,
but a combination of weather elements as well and correct set ups will be critical in determining a winner.
DAY ONE START ORDER FOR WILD WEST INTERNATIONAL RALLY
Start Car# Class Driver Country Co-Driver Country Car
1 14 Open Pasi Hagström FIN Marko Taskinen FIN 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
2 1 Open David Higgins UK Daniel Barritt UK 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
3 29 Open Tim O’Neil USA Alex Gelsomino USA 2002 Ford Focus
4 5 Open Ramana Lagemann USA Michael Orr UK 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
5 6 Open Lauchlin O’Sullivan USA Christian Edstrom USA 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
6 16 Open Alfredo De Dominicis ITA Danilo Fappani ITA 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. VI
7 23 GN Mark Nelson USA Duncan McMath UK 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX
8 45 GN Shane Mitchell IRE Paul Donnelly IRE 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX
9 83 GN Mark Utecht USA Jeff Secor USA 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX
10 22 GN Ralph Kosmides USA Jimmy Brandt USA 1999 Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
11 30 GN George Plsek USA Jeff Burmeister USA 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. VI
12 89 GN Wolfgang Hoeck USA Julie Lin USA 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. VII
13 52 G5 Doug Shepherd USA Pete Gladysz USA 2003 Dodge SRT-4
14 266 G2 Scott Fuller USA Jeff Call USA 1996 Volkswagen Golf GTI
15 51 G5 Jay Streets USA Ole Holter USA 1993 Volvo 760
16 94 GN Craig Peeper USA John Allen USA 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX
17 103 GN Wyeth Gubelmann USA Therin Pace USA 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
18 207 Open Dave Hintz USA Rick Hintz USA 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX
19 81 PGT Valdemaras Maciukevicius USA Ernest Bogusevicius USA 2000 Subaru Impreza
20 42 G2 Eric Burmeister USA Cindy Krolikowski USA 2002 Mazda Protégé
21 42 G2 Brian Scott USA Claire Chizma USA 2002 Ford Focus SVT
22 143 G2 Chris Whiteman USA Mike Paulin USA 2003 Dodge Neon SXT
23 225 G2 Derek Adolph USA Matt Gelder USA 2996 Acura Integra
24 245 G5 Carey Wright USA David Kean UK 1984 Mazda RX-7
25 60 PGT Bruce Davis USA Lee Sorenson USA 1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse
For Immediate Release
Sept. 6, 2003
Day 1 Update:
Olympia, Wash. - By early afternoon, a total of only 29 stage miles had been run over the first two special
stages. But as cars came back to service, some bruised, before the start of the drought imposed afternoon break,
it might as well have been a full rally. Pasi Hagström, running for Subaru Rally Team USA in his first US rally
ever, avoided any mishaps Saturday morning and leads overall by a sizable margin. Unofficially, he is currently
on top by over a minute.
2003 Manufacturer Overall Champion Team Mitsubishi Motor Sports America had a rough start as its top team, David
Higgins and co-driver Daniel Barritt, retired just six miles into the start of the 22-mile SS2. The decision to
retire came after Barritt, who had been battling the flu for days leading up to the event, became ill once more.
"If we were still in a fight for the Championship, he’d definitely be in there and we’d still be going," said
Higgins. "But we aren’t in a fight anymore and so we just called it. It’s just one of those things."
Lauchlin O’Sullivan, Higgins’ teammate, broke his left-front fender and left lamp after smacking a tree. Even with
the early troubles, he was able to continue and is currently in second.
Team Subaru didn’t make it out of the morning without some problems of its own. Ramana Lagemann, who has
given solid efforts in the past two rallies, drove SS2 with only 50 percent power.
"I checked all of the terminal signs and didn’t see anything wrong," said Lagemann. "We found out later it was
electrical as a coil had gotten loose and fallen out. We got it fixed and hopefully we’ll be able to make up some
time even though it’s a short rally."
In the Air Force Reserve Ford Focus, Tim O’Neil, with co-driver Alex Gelsomino, avoided any major problems during
the morning run and came into service in fourth overall.
"We had to replace a couple of struts after I had to do some pretty good mechanic work out on stage," said O’Neil.
"I had to tighten one of them back up or it would’ve come off completely and we would have been done."
Rain and cooler temperatures are still forecast for later on tonight and tomorrow for coastal and inland areas.
At this time, however, Wild West organizers are still uncertain as to Sunday’s schedule.
The Wild West International rally is scheduled to pick back up shortly after 7:00 p.m. and run three stages this
evening. A complete day one wrap up will be released as information becomes available and can be viewed at
For Immediate Release
Sept. 7, 2003
Day 1 Update #2:
Olympia, Wash. - The rains moved in shortly after the completion of day one of the Wild West International
Rally, but unfortunately, things were sloppy even before the dust began to settle with scattered raindrops.
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Pasi Hagström, along with co-driver Marko Taskinen grabbed the lead early, thanks
to an early retirement from Team Mitsubishi Motorsports America driver David Higgins, and maintained that lead
during the three night stages.
Higgins, already named the ProRally Championship’s top overall driver for the second year in a row, retired shortly
after beginning SS2 after Daniel Barritt, his co-driver, fell ill with another round of the flu. Barritt had been
battling the bug all week and tried to rest as much as possible, but apparently it wasn’t enough. It was an
unfortunate turn of events for Team Mitsubishi’s top tandem as they had jumped to a quick 20 second lead at the
completion of the seven-mile SS1.
After five stages were run on Saturday, Team Subaru unofficially holds the top two spots after Ramana Lagemann,
with co-driver Michael Orr, took over the second slot by overtaking Team Mitsubishi’s duo, Lauchlin O’Sullivan and
co-driver Christian Edstrom, during the evening stages. O’Sullivan’s Lancer Evolution had a rough morning session
when its left-front fender and light were broken and the hood slightly bent after the car made contact with a tree.
The Air Force Reserve pair, Tim O’Neil and co-driver Alex Gelsomino, battled problems all day long in O’Neil’s Ford
Focus SVT. The team had to replace a pair of front struts after SS2 before going off course about a mile before the
end of SS5, putting an end to a rather tumultuous rally for the group. The cause for going off was believed to be
mechanical in nature.
In the hotly contested FIA Group N class, Shane Mitchell, with Paul Donnelly, sits fourth overall and holds the
early class advantage over Mark Nelson and co-driver Duncan McMath, who is with his third different driver this
season (the others were Jonny Milner and Julian Reynolds – all three have driven the same Subaru Impreza WRX). Mark
Utecht, who holds a slight six-point lead in the Group N point standings over Mitchell currently, is third.
Day two of the Wild West International Rally is tentatively scheduled to resume on Sunday at 8:30 a.m., starting with
a parc expose at the Mason County Fairgrounds in Shelton, Washington. The schedule is contingent upon weather
conditions providing enough moisture to lift the fire restriction that is in effect for the state forests. Rain is
in the forecast for the rest of Saturday night and most of Sunday. If the restriction remains in effect, however,
the rally is scheduled to run in the morning and be completed by 1:00 p.m.
A wrap-up of the Wild West International Rally will be released as soon as information comes available and can be
viewed at www.scca.com.
For Immediate Release
Sept. 7, 2003
A SUPER "FINN"ISH: SUBARU SWEEPS TOP SPOTS,
HAGSTRÖM WINS IN FIRST ATTEMPT ON U.S. SOIL
Olympia, Wash. - Subaru Rally Team USA made it clear before the start of the Wild West International Rally that
whoever they named as their second team would be able to make an impact immediately.
Pasi Hagström and co-driver Marko Taskinen, both of Finland, wasted no time in holding their end of the bargain by
winning Round Eight of the 2003 SCCA ProRally Championship.
The pair held the lead for almost the length of the rally, the only exception being Special Stage 1, where Team
Mitsubishi Motorsports America driver David Higgins, winner of six of eight events this season, held a 20-second
advantage. However Higgins, and co-driver Daniel Barritt, were forced to retire shortly into the beginning of SS2
on Saturday after Barritt lost his battle against the flu. Hagström and Taskinen never looked back after that and,
working together in a rally competition together for the first time, claimed their first win ever on American soil
and Team Subaru’s second win of the season.
"That was the plan for the team, having both cars in the top two," said Hagström, who turned in a time of 2:05:47.
"So we made it and things are good. It’s nice to have a tight rally for everyone, competitors and fans because it
keeps it exciting."
"Of course it is not so easy to have a big lead early because it is easy to lose your concentration and make a mistake.
This was the first time for us to be together in a rally, but we have done notes for Tommi (Makenen - one of Team
Subaru’s World Rally drivers) for about two years now. Marko has been reading the notes for me and we have tested
other Subarus together, so we are quite familiar with each other."
Taskinen said that communication was not a problem for the pair all weekend.
"Pasi is a professional driver," said Taskinen. "I only had to tell him to back off a little bit when we were ahead
at the end. We came here wanting to drive our own rally and not pay attention to other drivers. We were lucky and
finished and we learned a lot this trip."
Team advisor David Campion was visibly pleased with the Finnish effort and his team’s overall performance as
Ramana Lagemann and co-driver Michael Orr finished second, posting a time of 2:09:13.
"We wanted to finish the year on a high after the year we’ve had," said Campion. "It would have been our desire,
shall we say, to finish on top. It was a bit disappointing that David (Higgins) retired so early on, it would have
been fun to have a fight with him, but we’ll just have to wait for next time."
Team Mitsubishi driver Lauchlin O’Sullivan and co-driver Christian Edstrom finished with another podium finish in
third position (2:11:27), while FIA Group N competitors Shane Mitchell/Paul Donnelly (2:16:56) and Mark Utecht/Jeff
Secor (2:19:08) finished fourth and fifth overall, respectively.
The battle for the John Woodner Cup (given to the top overall 2WD driver) intensified during the last stage Sunday.
Mopar Performance Parts driver Doug Shepherd, with co-driver Pete Gladysz, charged through the end of the rally,
catching both Eric Burmeister and Chris Whiteman during the last stage. Unofficially, if Shepherd finished second in
Group 5, as is believed, when points are refigured, Whiteman, Shepherd and Burmeister, all from Michigan, will be
tied for the Cup with a trip to the Lake Superior ProRally, in Houghton, Mich., in five weeks.
Complete results of the Wild West Rally will be released as they become available. For other information concerning
the Wild West International Rally, visit www.scca.com or www.wildwestrally.com. The season finale is on tap
for the 2003 ProRally Championship when the year comes to a close at Houghton, Mich., at the Lake Superior
ProRally, Oct. 17-18.
Media Contact & Web Information:
Curtis Kitchen, SCCA, Inc., Public Relations Manager
e-mail: email@example.com Mobile: 785.633.7977
SCCA ProRally: http://www.sccaprorally.com/
Wild West International Rally, http://www.wildwestrally.com
- Daniel Barritt, Higgins’ teammate and co-driver, has battled the flu for the past three days, but
improved significantly Friday and should be ready to go early Saturday morning.
- Air Force Reserve Driver Tim O’Neil’s Ford Focus suffered a punctured radiator after a limb
sticking out from a tree tore through his bumper and blasted the radiator during Thursday’s
practice run. The Air Force Reserve crew was able to fix all damage and the car should be ready
- Due to fire danger in the area, Saturday’s schedule has been amended so that the first two
special stages will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by a break from 1-8 p.m., then followed by three
more stages at night.
- Hagström’s 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX is scheduled to start the day’s stages at 8:30 a.m. sharp.
2003 ProRally Index