|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
August 29, 1999
|Contact: Tamara Shadbolt|
Tel: (503) 624-6366
Bemidji, MN.-- Driver Lee Shadbolt and co-driver Claire Chizma took the Hairpin Racing Subaru Impreza to a fourth place finish in the Ojibwe Forest ProRally. The event took place on August 27 and 28, on gravel and dirt roads near Bemidji, Minnesota. Sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), it was the seventh round of the Michelin / SCCA ProRally Championship. Just two events remain in the season.
The Hairpin Racing Subaru Impreza arrived at Ojibwe after being on display for two weeks at Morrie's Subaru in Minnetonka, MN. The team has partnered with Morrie's since 1997 and is featured on their website at www.subaru.net. In PGT, modifications are limited to safety and suspension, so the cars are similar to those found in dealer showrooms like Morrie's. With all wheel drive and exceptional reliability in rough environments, the Impreza seems to be built especially for rally roads.
The weather in Bemidji was partly cloudy and dry with enough wind to move the dust. The organizers chose two minute dust windows for most of the event though teams had to drive with limited visibility on some stages. Forty two teams started the rally with eight competitors in the competitive PGT class alone. The event had a challenging combination of fast gravel straights and loose, sandy corners. The straight sections favored the higher horsepower cars, while the tighter sections kept drivers and co-drivers alert. All of this was complicated by intermittent clouds of dust that accumulated in dry sections. On the night time stages in particular, caution had to be exercised as these clouds often masked crests or corners and other road hazards. In the end, seventeen rally cars would not finish the event. Many of these were due to "off course excursions", or driving where the road did not go.
On Saturday, just as competitors began to complain about the dust, the organizers warned of a "water crossing" where rally cars would have to travel on a road which was submerged by over a foot of water. This would have to be crossed twice, however it would be on a transit section where cars would not be competing for time. Despite this, rally teams had to navigate this section with some care to avoid drawing water into their intake systems. A variety of techniques were employed. Some teams opted to hit the water at a high speed and splash through it. Others accelerated through it, while some drove it at a constant speed in a high gear. Shadbolt accelerated after the initial splash and experienced no problems. Steam poured from the hot brakes of the Hairpin Racing Impreza as it sat at the timing control following the water crossing. At the next pass through the same spot, the water had turned to mud with ruts down the center of the submerged road.
After fourteen stages, the team of Shadbolt and Chizma took fourth place in PGT. Class winners were Bryan Pepp and Jerry Stang in an Eagle Talon. PGT points leader Gail Truess lost seven minutes on stage six and finished seventh in the class. Truess, competing in a borrowed Mazda 323 GTX, had rolled her Rally Dynamics 323 at the Maine Summer ProRally in July.
Current point standings for PGT drivers are as follows:
Truess 76 Shadbolt 60 Czyzio 54 Russell 53.2The next round of the Michelin / SCCA ProRally Championship will take place October 1 and 2, in Prescott, Arizona. This event, typically as rough as the Rim of the World ProRally, is well suited to the driving style of Shadbolt and the preparation of the Hairpin Racing Subaru Impreza Coupe. It will be a pivotal event in determining the 1999 Production GT Championship.
For further information on Hairpin Racing, please contact team manager Tamara Shadbolt at (503) 624-6366.