FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2001
For more information, Contact:
Eurosport Manhattan Rallying
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK -- Eurosport Manhattan Rallying began its 2001 Canadian Rally Championship at the Rallye de Quebec this past weekend. Driving a Group N Ford Escort Cosworth, driver Sakis Hadjiminas was looking to win the first rally which included the FIA class. The car was brought over from Iceland by newest Eurosport Manhattan driver Tony Birbilis. Sakis drove the car this weekend to test it for Tony, who will begin competing at Rallye Sanair in early April. Although minimal testing was accomplished before the event, Sakis was very optimistic before the Friday night start. "We are looking to learn the car tonight and press a little harder on Saturday's stages." Sakis was joined by Eurosport Manhattan Juniors co-driver, Luis Figuieredo. This was his first national event and was very excited at the start.
Friday night began quite slowly, with the road conditions changing from wet tarmac to ice. This made tire choice very difficult. From the beginning of the rally, the car handled very poorly and made the ice covered stages very difficult. The team played it safely and finished the leg in 14th place, hoping to improve on their position the next day.
After a quick review of the car, its handling problem was due to a problem with the braking system. Unable to repair it on Saturday morning, the team decided to continue on. Even with all their problems, the team was still leading Group N. Saturday was a bit better as Sakis moved the yellow Escort into 11th place, despite having a rear brake caliber catch on fire at the end of a stage. This was repaired and the team went on. Stage 4 of Leg C was to see the yellow Escort retire with a blown alternator.
Although very disappointing, the rally did help sort the car out and see what its weak areas are. With those things sorted out, Tony should have a great entry into the world of rallying in early April.
Eurosport Manhattan will travel to Maniwaki to compete at the Perce Neige Rally. Sakis be driving his regular Subaru Impreza Turbo. You can follow the latest news from Eurosport Manhattan on their website, www.eurosportrally.com.