|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
October 23, 2001
|Contact: Christopher Whiteman|
Detroit, Michigan - The PW Rallysport Group 2 team was back intact with driver Chris Whiteman and co-driver Mike Paulin. The team headed to Houghton, Michigan for the SCCA sanctioned 2001 Lake Superior ProRally. Mike was absent from the Ojibwe Forest ProRally in August.
At event start, driver Chris Whiteman was nervous. LSPR would be the first time Chris was back in the car after being taken to the hospital when the car rolled on Stage 7 at Ojibwe. The first stages would prove to be very fast. "I couldn't get comfortable and relaxed, the first 10 stages were very high speed. These are the stages where horsepower really counts, and we don't have much," explained Whiteman. The team tried to run smooth and consistently.
On Stage 7 the car had a problem with the fuel pressure regulator; this is a similar problem from earlier in the season. "We were at speed on a stage and the engine kept dying. I knew exactly what it was. There was something wrong with the fuel pressure regulator," Whiteman explained, "I knew that we didn't have a spare, so we kept racing, hoping to get through the night." The team finished the first night positioned 5th in class.
Fortunately for the team, Niday Racing had run into problems of their own which put them out of the race. The Niday Racing car is similar to the PW Rallysport car so a borrowed fuel pressure regulator was installed. "This is what is great about this sport, J.B. Niday didn't even hesitate to loan us the part that we needed. Without that part we may have not made it through day 2," said Whiteman.
The first stage of day 2 was the roughest stage of the year for the team. Whiteman explains, "I couldn't believe how rough the road was or how many sharp rocks were on it. I thought the car was going to break apart. I don't know how we made it through without loosing a tire." The team's luck started to change on that stage. The Burmeister Mazda team appeared to be having problems. "After we passed Burmeister, that put us into 4th place. I didn't know if Eric was totally out so I tried to step up the driving to widen the gap. I knew that Burmeister had the ability to catch us if he got moving." Unfortunately for Burmeister, his day would soon be over.
By the last stage, Stage 19, the team was solidly in 4th place in class and then a lucky break. Whiteman explains, "We were waiting to start the final stage when we watched the class leader, Bob Nielsen, start. Bob went around turn 1 and went off the side of the road. The spectators pushed him out, but his car was damaged and out of the race." Because of the Nielsen crash, the PW Rallysport team finished 3rd in class, 20th overall. This would be the team's first podium finish of their rookie year.
American Graffiti Graphics can be contacted at www.vinyl4all.com; North American Radiator, located in Utica, MI and can be contacted at (810) 739-7330; Burmeister Rallysport can be contacted at (810) 873-2974.
For more information on the team and pictures of the car, please visit our website at www.pwrallysport.com.