Press Release
May 11, 1998, Tigard, Oregon

Hairpin Racing Wins Production GT at Rim

Palmdale, CA. Driver Lee Shadbolt and Co-Driver Paul Eklund finished first place in the competitive Production GT (PGT) class at the 1998 Rim of the World PRO Rally. This event, sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), took place on the grueling mountain ridges outside of Palmdale, CA. These roads, heavily damaged by the El Nino rains, proved to be particularly rough with eight of the 27 national teams not finishing. It was the fourth round the ten event Michelin / SCCA PRO Rally Championship Series.

In PRO Rally, a team consisting of a driver and co-driver must negotiate the rough terrain utilizing only a route book. This route book gives exact mileage to intersections and road hazards along the course. The special stages are timed with teams departing at one or two minute intervals. Rally cars are equipped with special odometers, skid plates, lighting, and other safety equipment to help them negotiate the special stages. The challenge is to post a good time on a stage without damaging the vehicle or being delayed.

Weather played a major role in this year's Rim of the World PRO Rally event. Traditionally hot, dry, and very dusty, many of the teams and spectators were unprepared for the fog, rain, and high winds that welcomed them to the May 8 start of the rally. Proper lighting choice allowed the Hairpin Racing Subaru Impreza to take an early lead while other teams struggled with visibility in the heavy fog. Shadbolt overtook two other teams on the first special stage and held a 43 second lead over their next competitor in a Mitsubishi 3000 GT by the end of the night.

Day two started with a charity event utilizing a variation of the new SCCA Rallycross format. Two cars started simultaneously on mirror image dirt courses that shared a start-finish line. This gave spectators an opportunity to compare the driving styles and performance levels of a number of competitors and their cars. The Hairpin Racing Subaru Impreza competed against the Twin Turbo Toyota Supra Group 5 car of Ralph Kosmides. Outgunned by horsepower, the Impreza was defeated gracefully. In all, over $1000 were raised for local charities.

Back on stage and in spite of the rough conditions, Shadbolt and Eklund maintained their class lead and expanded it to 32 minutes by the end of the event. Three of the four Production GT (PGT) cars finished, but most suffered suspension damage, engine problems, or both. The Impreza performed flawlessly and finished 9th overall and first in class. The team successfully defended their 1997 PGT win at Rim and now leads the Michelin / SCCA PRO Rally Championship points race in their class.

Additional information regarding this event is available at Also, the event will be televised on espn2 on May 29 at 3:30 PM (PDT).

Hairpin Racing is available for comment at (503) 624-6366, contact Tamara Shadbolt.

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