OLYMPIA, Wash. - Lauchlin O'Sullivan started the Wild West ProRally with an encounter with a tree early on the second stage, trashing his Lancer Evolution's front bumper, driver's side headlight and fender. But he and co-driver Christian Edstrom battled on to finish third overall in the two-day venue over western Washington State's narrow logging roads - and a lock on second place in the SCCA Sports Car Club of America ProRally Championship.
O'Sullivan's podium finish gives Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) a clean sweep of the ProRally Championship: a one-two finish in the manufacturer's championship, overall ProRally Championship, overall drivers champion, and overall co-drivers champion.
With two Open Class Lancer Evolutions at the top of the SCCA ProRally standings, with one event left to run next month in the wilds of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Mitsubishi is demonstrating the high performance sports sedan's superiority in its first year of sales in the U.S.
Meanwhile, teammate David Higgins, who repeats as the overall SCCA ProRally Champion, scorched the first stage of the rally, beating the eventual Wild West winner, Subaru's Pasi Hagstrom, by some 20 seconds. But Higgins had to retire early into the second stage as co-driver Daniel Barritt lost his battle against the flu that had stricken him a couple days earlier.
"Securing the top two places in the SCCA ProRally Championship while competing under the harshest of conditions is testament to the Lancer Evolution's ultimate engineering and technical superiority," says Dick Kelley, manager of Motorsports for Mitsubishi North America.
"Our 2003 ProRally championship validates why the Lancer Evolution has always been a legend to those who love a performance sports sedan with equal parts power, control and dependability."
"Our growing base of rally fans will find this same spirit in the two newest members of the expanding Lancer family - Lancer Ralliart and Lancer Sportback Ralliart when they reach showrooms later this fall," says Kelley.