|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
May 12, 2000
|For more information, contact: John Dillon|
Creativity in Action
P.O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231
Palmdale, California. -- Driver Mark Nelson of Incline Village, NV, and co-driver (navigator) John Dillon of Thousand Oaks, CA finished second in Group N at the Rim of the World ProRally last weekend, despite limping through 3 stages with a damaged suspension. The team reprised its Oregon Trail ProRally finish last month with another visit to the Group N podium, solidifying 2nd in the points.
Sierra Motorsport campaigns a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV in the SCCA ProRally series. The team started off very strong on the first stage, but damaged the suspension on Stage 2, after clipping the side of a mountain. "The road surface was extremely slippery and difficult to drive," explained Mark. "Sections of the concrete road were covered in gravel--it was like driving on ice; the car would completely push going into the corners. Once the suspension was damaged, that effectively put us out of contention for any top overall position." The impact bent the right front control arm and damaged the axle, pushing the right front tire into the fender.
"Pirelli makes a phenomenal rally tire," praised the co-driver. "We drove over 50 miles with the tire chafing against a fender rivet. Even though the rivet dug a groove into the tire all the way to the cord, the tire never went flat." When the team finally limped into the service area, the service crew launched into action. Crew chief Murray Thomas, along with John Nelson and Stephen Thomas, replaced the right front control arm and axle in only 22 minutes. "The service crew did a fantastic job repairing the car in very little time. We were still determined to finish the rally, and even after the incident, we were able to produce respectable times in the top 10," commented the driver.
Rim of the World, considered by many to be the roughest rally on the U.S. circuit, covers over 350 miles in two days. One only has to review the results sheet to see how the rough roads and steep exposures (cliffs) can take their toll on competitors and equipment. At the conclusion of the race on Saturday night, only 15 National competitors were shown as finishers. At the end, Sierra Motorsport's Evo finished 13th overall despite losing over 30 minutes due to their early crash.
The next race is June 3rd, the Susqhehannock Trail ProRally (STPR) headquartered in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. "The car took the pounding of Rim extremely well," said Mark. "For Pennsylvania, we'll lower the car and stiffen the suspension to improve handling on the smoother and much faster roads. This will be my first trip to STPR, so we'll be using the first few stages to get used to the roads. Since we have to run a 32mm restrictor in Group N, we'll be significantly down on power to some of the Open Class cars, but hopefully we'll make up for that difference with the car's superb handling, and turning consistent times."
Dillon has some familiarity with the venues, having competed in the 1999 season. Crew chief Murray Thomas of TAD Motorsports also brings years of experience to the remaining events. "We're looking forward to the rest of the season," said Dillon. "We continue to gain confidence in the car and each other, so expect to see us climbing the results charts."
Thanks to the power of the internet and services provided by Shults Dot Com the Sierra Motorsport Team stays organized, despite geographic complications. Mark Nelson lives in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Dillon in Ventura County, California, and Thomas near Chicago, Illinois while the car and team are based at Sears Point Raceway in Northern California. The team races exclusively on Pirelli tires. For more information, visit www.SierraMotorsport.com hosted by Shults Dot Com.