Press Release

August 29, 2000

Primitive Racing Suffers More Mechanical Woes at Ojibwe

Bemidji, MN -- The long, hard learning curve of fielding a competitive ProRally team continued for Primitive Racing in Minnesota. After winning the RallyCross event outright the evening before the ProRally, the team seemed poised for a good finish.

Starting at the top of the Seed 2 drivers, the team was holding its own on the sandy roads when the transmission became stuck in 4th gear. While driver Paul Eklund and co-driver Scott Huhn both tried to pound and pry the car out of gear, they motored across the finish of Stage 4 and on into service. Starting the car in 4th gear was a testament to a strong clutch and a will to continue.

Transmission problems have been a persistent problem for US and Canadian Subaru rally teams for the past 4+ years. At service, it became clear that the faulty transmission would need to be replaced. The service was one hour and 54 minutes long. Primitive's crew consisted of Richard Buckner (Subaru service veteran) and 2 local Impreza enthusiasts who had volunteered their services for the weekend (Christian Banks and Brian Dondlinger). Boy, had they volunteered!

The short story is that after 1 hour and 47 minutes, the new AWD transmission was installed and the car was being tested through all the gears on the jack stands. Local TV cameras caught the triumphant moment as the team celebrated a servicing feat--in the middle of the night, in the middle of a dirt parking lot.

So the team was only down about 45 seconds at this point... Eklund and Huhn finished out the night, taking it easy on the car. They were 19th overall out of 75+ starters.

In the morning, Team Primitive took one of the top times at the Bemidji SuperStage showing the crowd a new inside line at a key corner and barely being edged out by the powerful Hyundai teams on the banked track. Things looked good until the afternoon when the IHI turbo blew, dumping most of the engine's oil into the exhaust and creating a smoke cloud that chased away all the local mosquitos... (quite a feat!)

Determination again prompted the team to action! Using their patented Leatherman pocket tools to carve plugs from local tree branches and plug the oil line to the turbo, the Primitives were able to complete the stage without turbo boost. They used a sock to create an air filter over the intercooler opening. "We were surprised to see all the Mitsubishi cars broken at the side of the road as we puttered past," said driver Eklund after completing two more stages and returning to the final service. "It looked like a Lancer graveyard." Once the team made it back to service and removed the intercooler, they were able to complete the rally at 1/3rd power.

Look for more info and photos to appear on Primitive's website at and in the upcoming days.

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