Press Release

Tel: (817) 472-8310
Fax: (817) 472-8310


Prescott, Arizona, Ocotber 4, 1998 -- Navigator Farina O'Sullivan leads TEAM TPi driver Jowi Odero-Jowi to first National PRO Rally finish and Production GT class win.

The XI Prescott Forest Rally started off on a very low key. National competitor Carl Merrill suffered from a cardiac arrest on the first stage of the rally on Friday night. He was airlifted to a local hospital where his condition was reported as "critical, but stable". The four competitive stages scheduled to be run on Friday night were cancelled; the organizers chose to wait until Saturday morning to decide whether the rally should go on or not. Saturday morning the devastating news was received...Carl Merrill had passed away. Word was later received from the Merrill family that the rally should go on, as they felt that Carl would have wanted it that way. TEAM TPi decided to continue the rally in honor of Carl.

Roger Hull/Sean Gallagher in an Eagle Talon ('97 Prescott Forest Rally Production GT winners) dropped out early in the rally with mechanical problems. That left Steve Gingras ('97 Production GT Champion) with navigator Eric Carlson in an Eagle Talon, and Lee Shadbolt/Paul Eklund in a Subaru Impreza (current Production GT points leaders) as the major contenders for an outright win in the GT category. Kendall Russell/Lynn Dillon, in a Dodge Shadow, are very consistent and have finished all National rallies entered this year. They were poised to strike if the Production GT front-runners succumbed to the fierce pace of the competition and the rough conditions. That left the TPi Rallying team of Jowi Odero-Jowi/Farina O'Sullivan in the TPi prepared Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX as the dark horse in the GT category.

For the first three stages run on Saturday (stages 5, 6 and 7) Gingras/Carlson were leading the PGT field with the Odero-Jowi/O'Sullivan Mitsubishi Eclipse in a surprising second position. The rally was running later than scheduled. By the time the cars were ready to start stage 8, which was the return run of a turnaround stage, it was dark. Team TPi heard that Gingras had electrical problems and as a result only had regular headlights. Shadbolt had not anticipated the rally running late and did not have his auxiliary lights mounted. Odero-Jowi realized that he had the upper hand in the situation and would have to drive hard to gain time and put a buffer between himself and Gingras; at the end of stage 8 there was a service break - he knew Gingras and Shadbolt would be able to rectify their problems and the advantage would be gone. Team TPi finished the stage 1min 38s ahead of Gingras/Carlson with Shadbolt/Eklund an additional 42s behind Gingras.

The last two stages were tight, twisty and very room for error! Odero-Jowi knew that on the remaining stages Gingras would drive "all out" to try and regain the lead, and so was forced to push harder than he normally would have on these stages. Gingras gained 5s on stage 9 and 7s on stage 10 - not enough to overcome the deficit from stage 8.

Team TPi won the Production GT class on their first National rally finish, an encouraging result after two frustrating DNFs. This one is dedicated to the memory of Carl Merrill - he will always be with us!

With product support from Thermal Research & Development (performance exhaust systems), Alamo Autosports of Arlington, Texas (import car performance products and technical advice), GAB/Wings Corp., USA (suspension components), Earl's Performance Products (competition plumbing) and Front Wheel Drive Supply of Hurst, Texas (drive axles, bearings & hubs, rack & pinion steering racks), TEAM TPI looks forward to a successful year and hopes to attract major sponsors. Team TPI's Internet media services and website are courtesy of AIRS, Inc. (online real estate foreclosure information systems serving Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX).

Visit Team TPI's Website at

For more information please contact Jowi Odero-Jowi:

Tel: (817) 472-8310
Fax: (817) 472-8310

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