PIKES PEAK, Colo., July 1 - Subaru Rally Team USA driver Mark Lovell and co-driver Roger Freeman, piloting their 2004 WRX STi, finished first overall in the SCCA ProRally class at this weekend's 2003 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Subaru teammates Ramana Lagemann and Michael Orr also thrilled fans with an impressive second place podium spot for the Open Class.
Lovell repeated his win at Pikes Peak, and with Freeman, completed the 12.4-mile, 156-turn course in just 11 minutes, 39.63 seconds, setting a new course record for the Open Class in the famed "race to the clouds." Their time was just 4.93 seconds behind the overall winner, a purpose-built Open Wheel class vehicle
"This is my second consecutive win here at Pikes Peak," exclaimed Lovell. "It's a grueling and very challenging drive that places extreme demands on both man and machine. My goal was to win this event, and finishing one-two with my teammate makes it even better."
Subaru teammates Ramana Lagemann and Michael Orr posted a time of 11 minutes, 43.65 seconds, earning second place in the Open Class, and a third place overall.
"This is my second year competing at Pikes Peak," said Lagemann. "I spun out last year, and since that time, I have gained a lot of valuable experience in the past year which helped me make this event a success. This one-two finish earns Subaru Rally Team USA valuable points in the Manufacturer's Championship."
After a pair of disappointing clutch failures at Susquehannock Trail Pro Rally three weeks ago, both Lovell and Lagemann had their sights set on a win here. That determination paid off, with Lovell and Freeman posting the fastest time of the day in qualifying on Thursday, and Lagemann and Orr the third fastest time.
Ramana Lagemann and Michael Orr skillfully drove to the second place finish behind teammates Lovell and Freeman. The pair broke the previous year's record despite an electrical problem which developed about a mile from the summit, but switched to fail-safe mode to finish the stage. Lagemann and Orr still finished nearly 30 seconds ahead of the next closest Open Class competitor at this year's event.
Lovell's first place and Lagemann's second place elevates Subaru 35 points in the 2003 ProRally Manufacturer's Championship, putting them closer to the current points leader.
Subaru Rally Team USA will travel west for the Oregon Trail ProRally on July 12 and 13, 2003. For additional information about Subaru Rally Team USA, visit the team's web site at www.rally.Subaru.com