Press Release

TEAM HONDA RESEARCH


THR's FIRST WIN IN PRO RALLY NATIONAL PRODUCTION CLASS
COMES WITH DEBUT OF CIVIC CVT!

THR Summary: 1998 Susquehannock Trail Pro Rally (STPR)
Wellsboro, PennsylvaniaJune 6, 1998
Class:Group 2Production
Car:1997 Civic HX MT #711996 Civic HX CVT #15
Driver:Bryan HourtJay Kowalik
Co-driver:Brian ShanfeldScott Embree
Crew:Pete Cardimen, Jerry Kowalik, Joe Hourt, Mony Hourt, Buffy Hourt

THE RALLY:

STPR '98 had a huge field of 80 cars, including one of our Civics among the 8 Production competitors and our second Civic among the 14 Group 2 competitors. All the top Open class cars were present along with top talent from Canada and Jamaica. The locals and other spectators came to preview the cars on Saturday morning at the Park Expose before heading to spectator points. The weather was mainly dry and clear.

The rally started Saturday at 11:01a.m. The Production CVT Civic left the starting point at 11:28a.m. and the Group 2 Civic left at 11:44a.m. Stages 1 and 2 are traditional STPR runs with the only re-seed (starting order adjustment) based on these times. The CVT Civic fell back 19 starting positions with a small "oops" during Stage 2, while the Group 2 Civic moved ahead 17 positions to 2nd place in G2! The first 4 stages were all fast and dusty with a well-prepared and driven field of cars evidenced by less than 10 cars retiring. Next was the lunch break.

Stage 6, the first 18-mile stage of the day, popped a hole in the right rear Michelin on the CVT Civic less than 2 miles in. We managed to finish on the withering carcass. We changed the tire after the transit to Stage 7, losing only about 2-1/2 minutes to the field during Stage 6. The CVT was 5th in its class while the Group 2 Civic was running strong with a 3rd place in class.

Stage 7 was dismal for the Group 2 Civic with a multi-tree encounter ending Bryan & Brian's day. The CVT Civic was 3rd in class after 10 stages, even after running Stage 10 without auxiliary power due to a power main short, i.e., no Hellas, no Terraphone communication, Terratrip computer on back-up battery, no co-driver reading light for 12 race miles! Last year a bear ran into our path, this year coyotes!

Stages 11 thru 13 were more twisty and tight, allowing the CVT to excel and finish first in class by 1 minute 38 seconds, and 22th overall. 51 cars finished the event. The Sprongl brothers attacked and won overall in an Audi by almost 4 minutes. Jim Anderson took 3rd in Group 5, 16th overall with his less restricted Honda Prelude.

Our crew did an outstanding job, servicing 2 cars back to back. Scott co-drove like a veteran in only his 4th rally.

Our first time entering the Group 2 class did not end up as we would have liked it. The new car ran great during the first 6 stages. On the 7th stage, we had a little problem with a blind, decreasing radius, off camber, tree lined left sweeper. Reading the corners correctly is one of the biggest challenges in PRO Rally. As the corner tightened up at the end, we found ourselves in the loose gravel, off camber. This caused the car to come around too slow and we ended up smacking a tree with the right rear quarter.

Production CIVIC CVT Performance

Group 2 CIVIC Performance

Other THR Recent Results in SCCA Club Racing

Upcoming THR Events

THR needs to thank the following for their continued support:

Honda Motor CompanyBenderís Race Cars
Hella Inc.Red Line Oil Inc.
Transportation Research CenterSusquehanna Motorsports
Snap-On Tools

ESPN2 WILL AIR A HALF-HOUR STPR'98 HIGHLIGHT SHOW ON TUESDAY, JUNE 30TH AT 6:30 p.m. The THR CVT CIVIC SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE HIGHLIGHTS.

We are keeping our body replacement parts warehouse busy, but that's racing! Feel free to contact me with any questions or more details. We will keep you updated as the racing season progresses.

Best regards,

Jay Kowalik
E-Mail: Team Honda Research


Honda R&D Americas, Inc.21001 State Route 739, Raymond, OH 43026


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