Press Release

August 1, 2000
Contact: Vermont SportsCar USA
Paul Giblin, Director of Marketing & Public Relations
Vermont SportsCar USA
Tel: 603-383-4088

Scheible and Hughes Take Third Overall
in SCCA Maine Forest Rally

Remain Atop SCCA ProRally Championship by 18 Points
with Four Events Left

RUMFORD, MAINE, USA -- A record number of teams from the United States and Canada started the Maine Forest Rally this past weekend in Rumford, Maine - 108 in total. This was the largest field ever to start a professional rally in North America. The 2-day event was organized by 11-time National rally champion, John Buffum, and would be contested on lumber company roads in an area north of Rumford, Maine. Since its inception in the early nineties, the Maine Forest Rally has quickly become one of the best attended events in the nine-event Sports Car Club of America ProRally Series.

Current series points leaders Karl Scheible from Spencerport, NY and Russ Hughes from Leroy, NY started ninth in the 108-car field on Friday afternoon. Driving a Vermont SportsCar-prepared Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V, the duo had one thing on their mind as they prepared for what was one of the most important rallies of the year - they had to finish the rally in the top five if they wanted to retain their overall points lead in the series championship.

Starting ahead of the Vermont SportsCar team of Scheible and Hughes was 7-time series champions Paul Choiniere and Jeff Becker in their Hyundai Tiburon as well as current series champions Noel Lawler and Charlie Bradley, also in a Libra Racing prepared Hyundai Tiburon. In addition, Canadian champions Frank and Dan Sprongl from Ontario made the trip south and were also entered in the event. Although in this event they would be driving a Cosworth-powered Ford Escort - not their usual 400 horsepower Audi Quattro S2 which was awaiting a new engine from Europe.

As the rally got underway, weather conditions were near perfect. Temperatures were in the mid seventies and recent rain showers had reduced the usual dust factor considerably. The first several stages of the rally we rough, but very fast. Scheible and Hughes stuck to their game plan however, drove at a conservative pace, and finished the first day tied for fifth with fellow Mitsubishi racers Seamus Burke and Frank Cunningham. Frank and Dan Sprongl hit a large rock on the last stage of the day which brought their rally to an unexpected end for the weekend.

With the first day and three special stages out of the way, Saturday morning brought with it a mixture of cloudy skies and showers to the Rumford area. The Vermont SportsCar service crew, headed by team owner Lance Smith, went over the car from front to back the night before, making sure their Mitsubishi Lancer was as good as it could be for Saturday's six special stages. Scheible and Hughes had their work cut out for them today, but they were prepared.

As the day wore on, Scheible and Hughes managed to create quite a window between themselves and the Mitsubishi team of Burke and Cunningham and focused on fourth place. Just ahead of them, however, was another Mitsubishi team, Garen Schrader and Michael Fennell. The two Mitsubishi teams played cat and mouse throughout the afternoon and after the next to last stage, special stage #9, it was the team of Scheible and Hughes in fourth place overall by just two 1/100ths of a minute!

After a brief service in Oquossic where the rally cars were cleaned and tarmac tires were mounted on many of the remaining cars, the field headed south to Rumford where the rally would be decided on the city streets in front of several thousand waiting spectators. The final stage would be a short tarmac section of roadway around the Mead Paper Company ending on the Main Street of Rumford just in front of the local fire station.

When all was said and done, the Hyundai team of Choiniere & Becker captured the overall win followed by the Canadian Subaru team of Tom McGeer and Mark Williams in second. 1999 series champions Lawler and Bradley took third place overall and Scheible and Hughes finished the rally just three 1/100ths ahead of Schrader and Fennell to take fourth place overall.

However, controversy at the conclusion of the event revealed an illegal service by McGeer and Williams while in a Control Area, thus penalizing the Subaru team ten minutes and moving them back to twelfth place overall. This penalty allowed Scheible and Hughes to move up one notch to third place overall in the rally and gave the duo an 18-point lead in the overall series championship with only four events remaining in the nine-event schedule.

The teams next event will be round number six, the Ojibwe Forest Rally, which is scheduled for August 25th and 26th, 2000 in northern Minnesota. The Maine Forest Rally will be aied in a 1/2 hour television show produced by Replica Productions on the Speedvision Network, Monday, August 14th at 8pm.

Vermont SportsCar is based in Colchester, Vermont and receives corporate support from the following international corporations: Lazer Digital Services, Flower City Printing, Ohlins Suspension Systems from Sweden, Hella Lighting Systems, New England Racing Fuels / Sunoco Race Fuels, Compomotive Motorsport Wheels, Stack Instruments, Goodridge Components, Aearo Peltor and MOMO Automotive Accessories.

For more information regarding the SCCA ProRally Series, the team of Scheible and Hughes or Vermont SportsCar, please contact Paul Giblin, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Vermont SportsCar at 603-383-4088 or via E-mail at: Please visit the team's web site at: WWW.VTCAR.COM for the latest in team news and sponsor information.

Vermont SportsCar
23 Hercules Drive
Colchester, VT 05446
Tel 802-655-3533
Fax 802-655-6693

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