FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LANCASTER, Calif. (May 8, 2005)
Patrick Richard, from Vancouver, B.C., and co-driver and sister Nathalie Richard, from Quebec, led the 22nd annual Subaru Rim of the World Rally from start to finish to win their second straight event in Southern California’s high desert early Sunday morning.
Richard, who was both the Canadian and U.S. Rally champion last year, dominated the event in his Subaru Impreza WRX despite a very sore wrist, which needed to be iced after every stage. He had a wrist guard on it for support, but the guard ripped off several times due to his rapid steering wheel movement, so he had to fight through the pain to win the event. Also, Richard was using his brakes so hard on the Rim roads that the discs were glowing after each stage.
“The concentration needed to go at these speeds on the twisty, rocky Angeles National Forest Rim roads is so great that the pain disappeared during the stages. We did what we had to do to win,” said Richard.
Matthew Iorio, from Westmoreland, NH/Ole Holter, from Long Beach, Calif. finished second in their Subaru Impreza STI by more than five minutes. Ken Block, from Encinitas, Calif/Alex Gelsomino, Santa Clarita, Calif. were third overall in their Subaru WRX, but first in the Group N class. The Stephen Verdier, Huntington Beach, Calif./Allan Walker, Orange, Calif. team in their Subaru WRX were fourth overall and first in Super Stock, while the Bill Malik, Santa Clarita, Calif./Amity Trowbridge, Seattle, WA entry were eighth overall and the top 2WD finisher in their Volvo.
In the regional California Rally Series/Western States Rally Championship classes, Peter Workum, from Phoenix and Chrissie Beavis from San Diego won the Friday night stages in their Subaru WRX, while Wyeth Gubelmann, from Placerville, CO, and Cindy Krolikowski, from Wyandotte, Mich., in their Subaru WRX, won the Saturday night event. Complete results are available on www.rimoftheworldrally.com.
Because of the heavy rains in Southern California, including a downpour last Thursday night, several of the usual Rim roads were washed out, and others were deemed impassable by the Forest Service, so the rally was significantly altered from previous years.
Four "Super Special Stages" were scheduled to run as a closed-course side-by-side gymkhana set up in the stadium at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, but the final of those four stages was cancelled due to the late-running rally schedule Saturday night. For the other three stages, more than 1,000 people crowded into the stadium to watch the high-speed race cars jump over the hill on the front straight-away and struggle through the muddy stadium surface. Due to the conditions, the first and second Super Specials were run as untimed exhibitions.
The Subaru Rim of the World Rally was round #2 of the United States Rally Champ-ionship. In terms of the USRC championship, with two out of four events now complete, and round #1 (the Cherokee Trails event in Tennessee) winner Tom Lawless not attending the event, Matt Iorio, who finished third in Tennessee and second here at Rim, takes a commanding lead in the overall championship with 58 points, with Lawless and Rim winner Richard second with 36 points and Peter Workum now fourth with 35 points.
Workum, from Phoenix, AZ, and his co-driver Chrissie Beavis, from San Diego, Calif.. were headed to a much higher finish until they crashed on the last stage of the rally, and were unable to finish the event, settling for his four USRC starting points. Craig Hollingsworth, from Incline Village, NV, who finished ninth at Cherokee and tenth at Rim, now has 31 points in the overall championship, good enough for a fifth place tie with Bruce Davis, from Granite Bay, Calif., who finished tenth at Cherokee and ninth at Rim with co-driver Lee Sorenson, from Fair Oaks, Calif. Fourth place Rim finisher Stephan Verdier is now seventh in points with 24 points, tied with Patrick Lilly. Complete standings are available at www.usrallychampionship.com.
On the manufacturer’s side, Subaru swept the top seven overall positions, followed by Volvo, a Dodge Neon, a VW Jetta, and a Honda Civic. Not a single Mitsubishi finished the national event.
The sport of Performance Rally, which attracts more racing fans worldwide than Formula 1, Indy Car or NASCAR, takes place on every continent, but the Subaru Rim of the World Rally, presented by Autosport Engineering, is the only rally in North America that takes place in a major metropolitan market, giving it the tag as “the Super Bowl of Rally.”
In the Subaru Rim of the World Rally, the cars race one-at-a-time against the clock on closed ridge-top fire roads – each time trial is called a stage - in the Angeles National Forest, with the cars recording the lowest total elapsed time at the end of the event being the winners in each class. The co-driver, who sits in the passenger seat, has a route book which guides the team through the course turn-by-turn, and has a rally computer to aid him or her by keeping track of mileage intervals and elapsed time. The driver will go as fast as he or she can – no speed limits – with coaching from the co-driver describing the road configuration ahead. The rally is sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC) and co-sanctioned by the National Auto Sports Association (NASA).
The drivers meet their crew every couple of stages for service on the cars, and drivers must obey all local traffic regulations when their cars are not actually driving on the closed stage road. Unlike traditional racetrack driving, where repetition on the same course can lead to the “best line” or “best setup” for each corner, rally drivers must react to blind conditions at racetrack speed.