|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
February 7, 2000
|Contact: Andrew Havas, Team HavSpeed|
Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- The first round of the Canadian Canadian Rally Championship promised to be exciting and eventful. Coming off a win at last year's Rallye Auto Charlevoix, driver Andrew Havas partnered once again with co-driver Scott Slingerland. Certainly underdogs in their 21 year old Mazda RX7, the team set out to battle Group 2 "hot shoes" Jon Nichols and Chris Havas in their state of the art front wheel drive VW's. A field of 54 entries, including 12 Group 2 cars assembled in the bitter cold of Quebec City to kick off a new century of motor racing on January 28-29, 2000.
The rally signaled the start of the city's winter carnival this year, and as a result of extensive pre-event media exposure, the spectators were out in force. Conditions were to prove treacherous, with hard packed snow over a layer of polished ice. Jon Nichols and co-driver Mike Koch had the dubious honour of being the first to retire, when Jon lost control of his VW Golf III after the finish of the first spectator stage, crashing heavily into a tree. Thankfully there were no injuries. Friday night's stages were at various locations around the city and there were plenty of onlookers enjoying the show. Group 2 was turning into another battle between the Havas brothers with Chris winning the first stage; Andrew then finding his stride, winning the next four of six and tying on another. Saturday's stages would be a great battle with Andrew and Scott up by only 9 seconds after Friday night's running.
The duel never materialized however, when the team of Chris Havas and Eric Tremblay lost drive during the first stage Saturday morning and were forced to retire. That left Andrew and Scott to settle into a smooth and steady pace for the class win, but they would have to remain extremely focused in the difficult conditions. Many people weren't as fortunate and many cars were damaged or stranded. Of the 54 starters only 26 would finish. Ultimately, Havas/Slingerland would finish first in class and an incredible 7th place overall, the only two wheel drive car in the top 12 finishers. They were over 11 minutes in front of the second place Group 2 car, and over 19 minutes ahead of the next fastest rear wheel drive car!
Team Havspeed has now completed three out of three rallies with two wins and one fourth place finish, and proved that it is possible to rally with rear wheel drive in the snow! The team would like to thank Orange Auto Electric, Jemco, PIAA, Earls, Mazda, and Ritchie Brothers for their support, and with their help, hope to build on their success in various rallies in North America this year. Thanks also to Jim Russell who provides service and support during the rallies. Congratulations to Andrew and Scott on a well deserved victory and a fine start to the new motorsports century!
Havspeed Engineering Ltd., Race and Rally Car Preparation Specialists. Visit us on the web at: http://www.havspeed.com.