Press Release

August 20, 2001
Contact: Andrew Havas,
Team HavSpeed
Tel: 919-968-3007

Team Havspeed Takes Second in Class,
Twelfth Overall at Ojibwe Forests ProRally

Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- Escaping the summer heat and humidity of the deep south, Team Havspeed headed north with their Mazda RX-7 to Bemidji, Minnesota to contest the annual running of the Ojibwe Forests ProRally. This was the 9th career ProRally event for driver Andrew Havas, who was joined en-route by Service Crew Chief Frank de Kat. Flying into Bemidji from Washington state, and making his co-driving debut with Team Havspeed, was John Allen from Bainbridge Island.

Minutes before the 5 pm start of the rally on Friday, dark clouds rolled in and hail and heavy rains assaulted the competitors and crew. The extreme weather hampered the teams' visibility and conditions proved treacherous as darkness fell.

Team Havspeed started 19th behind their main competition in the Group 5 class for modified 2WD cars. Current class points leader Tad Ohtake and co-driver Martin Dapot in a Ford ZX2 Escort, and the pre-event favorite Mike Hurst in a Ford Mustang with co-driver Rob Bohn, started in 17th and 18th position, respectively.

At the end of the six night stages in slippery and difficult conditions, Ohtake had suffered mechanical woes and was 3rd in class. Electrical gremlins forced Havas to turn off all but two driving lights, and take an especially cautious approach to unfamiliar stages. Team Havspeed trailed the veteran Hurst by 42 seconds after leg one.

With just a few hours of sleep, the teams were greeted by crisp Minnestota skies. Friday's heavy rains rendered dust-free stages, albeit still mucky and slick in places. Team Havspeed kicked off the day at the local Bemidji speedway delighting the crowds with 'true commitment rear-wheel drive style' and capped off the stage with a celebratory donut at the finish! The remainder of Saturday's stages were smooth, fast, and sometimes sandy. Team Havspeed was running 2nd in the Group 5 class, but consistently narrowed the gap on class leader Hurst. The final 5 stages of Saturday's rally proved to be the closest fight of the rally.

Displaying top form, Havas claimed consecutive stage wins for two-wheel drive after the first service. The heat was on for a dramatic final stage 8, and the class win!

"The final five stages we were catching Mike (Hurst) and closing the margin, but it was a tough fight as we were both pushing as hard as we dared," said Havas. "After dropping nearly a minute over the first nine stages, we were down just 18 seconds with one stage to go. It was a short 6 mile stage, so we needed to put at least 3 seconds per mile on Mike to pull off the win. We were both determined to fly. I told my co-driver John Allen that we were either going to win or end up in the woods! He paused and said, 'You can let me out right here, that will be fine!' "

At the flying finish, Havas and Allen came up 6 seconds short. Hurst and Bohn ran an excellent rally to take the Group 5 win and 11th overall. Team Havspeed took 12th place overall. In a stunning display of pace, Havas and Hurst demoralized the remainder of the two-wheel drive field (and some four-wheel drive cars as well) by a whopping 6 minutes!

The top three podium finishes went to Mark Lovell/Steve Turvey in an Open class Subaru Impreza WRX, Seamus Burke/Frank Cunningham in an Open class Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI and Karl Scheible/Brian Maxwell in a Group N Subaru Impreza WRX.

"It was a challenging and exciting rally," said Havas. "We had some great crowd reaction at the two super specials, the speedway was especially good. Even fellow competitors were complimenting us and adding their signatures to the car! I am very satisfied with our finishing position and grateful to John (Allen) for an excellent job of co-driving. Congratulations though, to a well deserving Mike Hurst on a great fight and a great finish."

The next event for the Orange Electric Mazda and Team Havspeed has yet to be finalized. Watch for upcoming coverage of Team Havspeed's efforts on Speedvision Network and in Sport Compact Car Magazine. Be sure to visit for updated news and pictures.

Team Havspeed is supported by Orange Electric, Earl's Indy, PIAA, Bosch, Bilstein and Panasport.


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