Press Release

August 27, 2003
Contact: Matt Cleary
Phone: (317) 722-1838

Air Force Reserve Rally Racer scores 5th at Ojibwe Forests

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE. Georgia -- The Air Force Reserve Rally Car driven by Tim OíNeil with navigator Alex Gelsomino finished in fifth place at the Ojibwe Forests Rally, Bemidji, Minn., for round seven of nine in the 2003 SCCA championship this weekend.

The rally, which provided its own unique set of challenges as it is run mostly during the night, was won by David Higgins, who also secured the 2003 championship. Team Air Force Reserve remains in contention in the overall points championship, and the Ojibwe result generated important points for the team.

OíNeil and Gelsomino campaigned the Air Force Reserve Ford Focus, which had been entirely rebuilt after suffering serious damage in a last-stage crash at the Maine Forest Rally in Maine.

Driver Tim OíNeil was happy to get a finish at Ojibwe and knows that the team learns more at each rally.

"It was quite a turnaround that AV Sport did to get the car ready for this rally," said OíNeil. "Unfortunately, though, I landed funny on something in the early stages and that turned out to give us a problem with our fuel pick-up and we lost power for a couple of stages, so that hurt us a little bit. We are still working on getting the maximum performance out of everything we have--the car, my driving, Alex and me working together--so every rally we are raising our game a little bit more, learning more and getting faster."

Alex Gelsomino was also happy to score a finish after what was a grueling rally where he nearly lost his voice on the last stage.

"It was what I would call a character-building experience this weekend, with some of the problems we had with the car. But, I was really impressed with how the team was able to troubleshoot the issue so quickly," said Gelsomino. "The competition is so high that even a little problem, one that only costs you a few seconds here and there, really jeopardizes your chances at a big result. Still, though, itís ten more precious points for us, and we are really determined to secure our place as the highest finishing privateer team this season. That would be tremendously satisfying, so we are keeping our eyes on that goal."


U.S. Air Force Reserve
1000 Corporate Pointe, Warner Robins, GA 31088
Telephone: (478) 327-0655 Fax: (478) 327-0138 DSN Prefix: 497
Release No. 08-27-03 August 27, 2003

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