Press Release

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

Air Force Reserve Rally Car race at Wild West Rally cut short

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE. Georgia -- The Air Force Reserve Rally Car driven by Tim O’Neil with navigator Alex Gelsomino finished out of the points in the Wild West Rally in Olympia, Wash., for round eight of nine races in the 2003 SCCA Championship Sept. 6 after crashing in the third stage.

"The car was going well in the early part of the rally, but then I just came around a corner way too fast and went off the road," said a disappointed O’Neil. "I went so far off the road that we couldn’t get back on course and I bent an axel as well, so our rally was finished right there."

The rally was won by Finnish racers Pasi Hagström and co-driver Marko Taskinen. The current 2003 SCCA ProRally Champion David Higgins, also encountered trouble during the rally and didn’t finish. Despite not being able to finish the event, O’Neil was upbeat about the take-away from the experience.

"We were not quite as fast as they (Hagstrom and Taskinen) were, but we were keeping pace with them. They sure put in a strong performance " it’s encouraging to have at least been keeping them in sight. Alex and I continue to work on our performance together and I keep working on getting everything out of what we have so we can come back and be even more competitive in 2004."

O’Neil and Gelsomino were hoping to score some points at Wild West as they worked to secure their position in the championship as the top-finishing private entry, and still have the opportunity to secure that position at the Lake Superior Rally in October.

It would be great to score a podium to finish the season off, said O’Neil. I think we have all the tools we need to get that done in Michigan."

The Air Force Reserve Rally Car will race again Oct. 17-18 at the Lake Superior Rally in Houghton, Mich.


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. 15-09-03

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