Press Release

November 22, 2000
For more information, contact: John Dillon
Creativity in Action
P.O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231

O'Sullivan and Bender On PGT Podium at Treeline

Monrovia, California -- Lauchlin O'Sullivan, San Francisco, and Steve Bender, Huntington Beach, finished third in the Production GT category at the Treeline ClubRally presented by last weekend. O'Sullivan, who won the California Rally Series championship in 1999, selected Steve Bender as his codriver at the last minute when scheduled navigator John Dillon took ill the day before the rally. For Bender, a successful driver in his own right, the experience was a new one as he had never navigated before.

O'Sullivan won this rally in 1999 with sister Fariņa as co-driver. The two raced an Open-class Audi Quattro, in contrast with this year's Eclipse classified as Production GT (PGT). PGT rules do not allow the same level of modification as Open cars, so the Eclipse was seriously down on power compared to O'Sullivan's car from 1999.

The duo got off to a rocky start when they were caught out by glare coming around a corner and missed a turn. Though they didn't go over the edge, they were stuck on a berm for several minutes until fellow competitor Paul Timmerman arrived and gave them a quick tow. O'Sullivan later returned the favor when Timmerman needed a spare tire.

With overall victory highly unlikely because of their problem on the first stage, O'Sullivan and Bender used the rest of the rally to experiment with different driving styles to learn how the car would respond in unexpected situations. "I haven't had as much seat time this year as I would have liked," said the driver, "so I tried some new things and learned how to make the car go quicker." In fact, O'Sullivan set the fastest stage times overall on two of the stages and was second quickest on two more.

"Naturally we had hoped to do better," commented M&M Motorsports team manager John Moore, "but we're satisfied that the car is finally getting sorted out. I think we're ready now for the Ramada Express Rally in Laughlin this December." John Dillon is scheduled to co-drive at this Nevada event.

Performance rally is a sport where teams race across desert paths, logging trails, and other unimproved roads in cars licensed for street use. The team consists of a driver and co-driver, the latter calling instructions from a route book provided by the rally organizers just prior to the start of the event. They are not allowed to pre-run the course.

While plans for the 2001 season are not yet finalized, it's entirely possible that success in Nevada will solidify the team and provide new opportunities in the coming year. Additional sponsors like Direct Signs, Ben's Transmissions, and Fleet Glass are already on board, with others potentially in the wings. If the team can pull it all together, they hope to challenge for the 2001 National championship.

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