Press Release

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


Laughlin, Nevada, December 6, 1998 -- Team TPi driver Jowi Odero-Jowi and navigator James Hurley display the "Press on Regardless" rally spirit as they overcome the odds to win the Production GT class in the FIA sanctioned Ramada Express Hotel Casino International Rally.

The team started off a little slow on Friday but were on the pace by stage 4. Stage 5 was going well for the team; they were lying 4th overall in points until they got a flat tire on the left rear of the car. Jowi did not realize that the tire was flat (one disadvantage of all-wheel drive - it is hard to tell when you have a flat tire, especially if it is on the rear of the car). He was caught going into a tight right-hand turn and the car did not respond. It ended up off the course about 30 feet down a ravine! It took about one and a half hours of digging, jacking up the car and clearing bushes to extricate the vehicle. The team "limped" through the rest of the stage with a badly bent lower control arm and tie-rod.

The control arm was replaced in service (the part was at hand thanks to Big Billy Barrett Mitsubishi, Mesquite, Texas). Mike Welch of Road Race Engineering walked over and offered a replacement tie-rod assembly. Because they were pressed for time, the team opted to straighten the tie-rod rather than replace it. Repairs were effected with some assistance from Roger Hull (Mercury Motorsports) and a few other friends.

Stages 6, 7 and 8 were completed without further incidents at a slightly subdued pace. When Friday's results were posted, Team TPi was at the end of the field, far behind the all ladies team of Karen Burrows and Farina O'Sullivan who were leading the Production GT class in a Mitsubishi Galant VR4 -- "Girls Kick Butt"!!

The "Super Special" stages run on Saturday proved to be quite a handful for Jowi. The power steering pump failed as a result of the off road "excursion" on Friday. With no spare power steering pump available (even the local Mitsubishi dealers did not stock the part), the team struggled through the day on the tight and twisty stages.

In the Saturday evening service, the team installed a power steering pump that was very generously loaned to them by Tony "Vu" from the Road Race Engineering team. The pump was pulled off Tony's personal car which was driven back to California early the next morning without power steering!

From Saturday night's results, Team TPi was approximately 16 minutes behind the Production GT class leaders. Jowi and Jim started to devise a plan of attack. They knew the PGT leaders were too smart and experienced to do anything to jeopardize their lead. All they had to do was drive conservatively and coast to victory. How could Team TPi make up 16 minutes in approximately 70 stage miles (more than 13 seconds per mile)?? They would have to put on an all out assault for the remaining stages!

Sunday morning Team TPi received reports of snow in the Grand Canyon/Hualapai Indian Reservation area. The team did not have snow tires, but had some softer compound Michelin L30 rally tires. The L30s were installed in place of the harder compound tires and the team set off to the start of stage 12. They knew the weather conditions would be the deciding factor for the PGT class win. Jowi started the "assault" on stage 12 too fast, and quickly realized that snow rallying required a somewhat different approach compared to the gravel road rallying that he is accustomed to. Jim helped pace him and helped him find and maintain the fine line that would keep them fast enough to make up time on the PGT leaders while remaining in control. By the major service break after stage 14, the tables were turned and Team TPi was leading the PGT field by approximately 20 minutes with three competitive stages left to go.

Stage 16 was cancelled because the roads were icy and too dangerous to run. With a sufficient buffer between Team TPi and the next PGT competitor, the team decided to back way off the pace and cruise to the finish. Team TPi finished the rally in 19th place overall; 1st in Production GT.

The event was won by the 1998 Canadian National Rally Champions Frank and Dan Sprongl in an open class Audi Quattro. Second place went to the 1998 New Zealand National Rally Champions Goeff Argyle and Raymond Bennett in an open class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV.

Team TPi is sponsored by Alamo Autosports of Arlington, Texas (import car performance products and technical advice), Big Billy Barrett Mitsubishi of Mesquite, Texas, Thermal Research & Development (performance exhaust systems), GAB/Wings Corp., USA (suspension components), Front Wheel Drive Supply of Hurst, Texas (drive axles, bearings & hubs, rack & pinion steering racks) and Dave Thomas of Waxahachie, Texas (trailer sponsor). Team TPi's Internet media services and Website are courtesy of Automated Information Retrieval Systems/AIRS, Inc. (online real estate foreclosure information systems) serving Dallas-Ft.Worth, Texas.

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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