Press Release

September 8, 2003
  Contact: Paul Eklund

Primitive Performs at Simpson Stages, Leads Western States Rally Championship

Shelton, Washington - The Primitive Racing Team showed consistent performance and accomplished their objective of extending their lead in the Open Class of the Western States Rally Championship and garnering NORPAC Championship points in two days of racing on the Simpson forest roads west of Olympia.  The team finished both days in 3rd place overall in the ClubRally and 2nd in the Open Class.  Scott Fuller in his amazing 6-speed Group 2  VW Golf was the ClubRally winner on both days.

Conditions were typical for the NorthWest, dry and very hot on the days leading up to the rally, forcing schedule changes due to fire danger, then rain showers moving in by the end of the first night, followed for fog, rain, and drizzle throughout the second day of the rally.  Things got underway in grand style with a kickoff reception hosted by Subaru on Friday night as the rally cars made a ceremonial start at St. Martins college.  In years past, a tarmac super special stage has been run at the picturesque college, maybe that tradition will reappear next year.

Saturday's Sou'Wester ClubRally was to be a long day.  The rally would start with 2 stages first thing in the morning, including the 22 mile long Nahwatzel complex, but fire restrictions forced the cancellation of the repeat of those 2 stages in the afternoon, so the rally basically shut down from 1pm until it restarted at 7pm with 3 different stages that night.  The Primitive Team's goal was to save the car on Saturday to have the best shot at a good finish of Sunday's point's paying Western States Championship optional event.

Paul Eklund in the Primitive Racing WRX set a good stage 1 time in the "slippy" conditions compared with top Club runners Fuller, Cavett, Hintz and , but fell back about 30 seconds on the long stage 2.  During the three night stages, Eklund fared well, but was a bit slow on Stage 6 falling back another 15 seconds.  Fuller ended up victorious with Gary Cavett second and Eklund third.

The Simpson Stages ClubRally started at 8:30am on Sunday after a night of off-and-on rain.  The first stage was mostly dry, but subsequent stages got wetter.  The first three stages would be run a second time and the rally would conclude with a brand new 12.5 mile stage, Wildcat Pass which got rave reviews from the competitors.

After the first 3 stages, Cavett, Eklund and Hintz, all running Subaru's in Open Class were within 1 second of each other.  Fuller in the G2 VW was ahead of them all and running his own race.  Stage 3 had a tricky uphill turn that several competitors missed and had to back up for, which shuffled scores about a bit.  Early on Stage 4, a rock became wedged in the left front brake caliper of the Primitive Subaru WRX, after about a mile of grinding, the noise went away.  Unbeknownst to the team, the rock had acted like a lathe and had cut a deep groove into the aluminum wheel, finally piercing into the center.  This caused the tire to slowly go flat and finally roll off the bead a few corners before the flying finish.  The team didn't loose much time, but had to change the tire after exiting the finish control in short order.

With the car stopped by the side of the muddy road, Eklund and co-driver Jeff Price quickly went to work changing the tire.  When Price pulled the wheel off the car, huge mounds of shaved aluminum came with it, like shiny Brillo pads and he could see where the rock had penetrated into the race wheel.  Unfortunately, in the muddy conditions, the car began to slip backwards and slowly collapsed onto the jack, setting the brake disk into the mud.  Eklund dug out the jack, and then worked feverishly to dig a hole to get the jack back under the car.  As he began the hard work to jack the car back up, he worried that they would not make it to the next control on time.  Help came in the form of an unlikely spectator who had driven by and seen the crippled car.  It was Bertl, the FIA observer from Sweden and organizer of the Swedish Rally (and his crew).  They helped get the car up so the spare could be bolted on.   The Primitive crew was quickly on its way.

By the second to last stage, the Hintz's had built a 28 second lead over Eklund who was running just a few seconds ahead of Cavett.  On the last stage, which starts with a twisty, flowing second gear romp up a hill and then ends with a fast, flowing downhill run, Eklund set top time for the group and took back 16 seconds, but fell 12 seconds short of besting the Brothers Hintz and had to settle for 2nd in Open and third overall.  But the points gathered for the Western States rally championship put them in the clear lead for the Open Class title.

The Wild West ProRally was won by Finnish hotshoe Pasi Hagstrom who has been hired by Subaru RallyTeam USA as their primary driver.  Ramana Lagemann also in a Subaru factory car was second.  2003 Series Champion, David Higgins dropped out of the event early, while leading, because his co-driver Daniel Barritt was very ill from a flu bug.  That left teammate Lauchlin O'Sullivan to take 3rd place overall for Team Mitsubishi.  Tim O'Neil in the Ford Focus spun off the course during the night stages and was unable to continue.

Scott Fuller dominated Group 2 in a high-powered Golf.  Doug Shepherd won Group 5 in an SRT-4 Neon.  PGT was won by Canadian father and son team of Scott and Bob Trinder in a naturally aspirated Subaru 2.5RS.   Scrutineers were puzzled when they went to check his turbo restrictor for legality after rolling off the finish ramp... The Production win went to Trevor Donison in the Acura RSX.

The Group N protest wars that I warned of prior to the season start have now heated up.  Shane Mitchell's protest of Mark Utecht's US homolagated WRX were not upheld, but Shane took the victory and the points lead "on the track" with his own very quick Euro-spec WRX.   The trouble stems from the confusing homolagation of the US spec cars and what is legal to change and what is not.  Shane probably has some merit in his argument, but allowing the protest would possibly shut the door on any attempts to run a US spec WRX in Group N competition.

There are many more stories from the Wild West weekend, look for them in upcoming copies of GrassRoots Motorsports, Driving Sports, and Rally World Magazine!  Also get info at: and

I would like to extend a special THANKS to Ron, Chris and Rick for excellent help as my service crew for the weekend.  You guys rock!

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