Friday, June 1, 2012
Press Notes: Friday afternoon
NOTE: These notes will be cumulative throughout the day, so check back often. Be sure to also check our Twitter feed.
1. In Wellsboro this afternoon, 65 cars gathered around The Green, read to start STPR 2012. The weather threatened rain, but it held off with the exception of a few sprinkles.
2. The only local competitor and his teammate are not novices running this rally. Wellsboro's Tony Esposito has been rallying for three years. His co-driver Phil Barnes celebrates his 21st year with STPR, in various roles including worker, driver and co-driver. Barnes said the team's goal is to finish the rally with no major issues, as well as to help Tony gain more experience as a performance rally driver. They are in Car #143 running a 2002 Subaru WRX in the Open class of the regional rallies.
3. Last April, the rally community was devastated by the loss of Matthew Noble Marker, of Elk Rapids, Mich., during an incident at the Olympus Rally in Washington in April 2011. As a tribute to their friend and fellow competitor, Samir and Rachelle Kaltak, of Grand Rapids, Mich., are one of two Subarus running in Noble's memory. Noble's father is crew chief for the Kaltaks here at STPR. "Our goal is to continue Matt's memory to promote safety in rallying," Rachelle said. This is the team's first year rallying, find them in Car #636, a 1997 Subaru Impreza running in Open Light. They are competing in the regional rallies.
4. Back to what's happening with the rally. Unconfirmed rumors are circulating that Andrew Comrie-Picard's 2011 Scion xD (Car #20) is suffering a broken suspension and his crew is looking for a local welder and some scrap metal. Higgins is dealing with gearbox problems on the Subaru (Subaru Rally USA Team, Car #75) and his crew went out between Stages 2 and 3 to work on the car and will take the time penalty. Both L'Estage (Car #17, Mitsubishi Evo X) and Hanson (Car # 523, Subaru Impreza WRX STI) were reported to have overheating issues.
5. Rory Gardiner/Steve Harrel (Car# 353, Open Light, 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS) reported via Twitter they made it through the first two stages. They hit a rock in the road early on SS1 and bent the right-fron control arm. They are taking it easy until they can change it in service later this afternoon.
6. Long-time rally enthusiasts will notice there are lot more women competing, both as drivers and co-drivers. Two young woman of note are Erika Detota of Passaic, N.J. and her co-driver Allison Hirsch of Waldorf, M.D. Erica's 1995 Subaru Impreza proudly boasts the statement, "I