Los Angeles – Eighteen teams competed in the third rally of the California Rally Series (CRS) season, the Idaho Rally, on June 18-19. The rally was divided into two separate CRS points events, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday. The smooth, flowing roads contributed to a low attrition rate, with only two teams withdrawing on Saturday, and just one team failing to finish on Sunday. More smooth gravel roads await the twenty-three teams entered in this weekend’s North Nevada Rally, which is based in Fernley, NV on July 8-9. North Nevada is also broken up into two CRS points events, one on Friday evening and the second on Saturday afternoon.

In the open four-wheel drive class, Jon Burke scored maximum points on both days at Idaho, despite barely making it to the end of the event with a blown turbo in his Subaru WRX. The finish propelled him to the top of the CRS leader board after engine problems forced him to sit out the first two rallies this year. He carries a two hundred point lead coming into North Nevada this weekend, where he will be facing stiff competition from several competitors including Idaho Rally organizers Dick Rockrohr and Marie Deangelis, also competing in a Subaru WRX.

Kris-Jon Lyssand and Joshua Rodriguez had a strong finish in the production-based four-wheel drive CRS-GT class at Idaho, moving them up to second place in the class after their first event of the season. They had a close battle with Alex Rademacher who lost six minutes on Saturday while stuck in a ditch after going off the road on stage. Rademacher came back on Sunday and bested Lyssand and Rodriguez to take the win and moving into third place in the class championship. Both teams will be at North Nevada in their Subaru Imprezas to continue battling each other as well as current class leader Katianna Pihakari, competing in her Subaru WRX with her third co-driver this season, CRS veteran Sean Gallagher.

CRS-2, the small-displacement two-wheel drive open class, is normally one of the most populated, but was oddly undersubscribed at Idaho, with no CRS members competing. This is definitely not a trend, as several teams are scheduled to compete in North Nevada, including three of the top four teams in the championship. The team currently sitting in the top position, Javier Olivares and Brock Heinz will be there to defend their lead in their Mitsubishi Galant. Chuck Wilson and Brent Ellzey are sitting in second place in the champiionship and will pushing hard in their Ford Escort to overcome the points gap this weekend. George Doganis and Tom Smith are currently sitting fourth in class points, but are quick enough to be challenging the four wheel drive teams for an overall podium spot in their fast and reliable Honda Civic. Expect a tight battle between Doganis and Smith and the father and son team of Tim and Dick Moser in their VW Golf. North Nevada will be the first event of the season for the Mosers, and they will be looking to score maximum points.

Jen Imai and Terry Stonecipher captured maximum points in the production-based two-wheel drive Performance Stock class at Idaho, despite their Suzuki Swift giving them numerous problems. The finish moved them into the class lead over John Black, who opted to compete on a motorcycle instead of his rally car at Idaho. Imai and Stonecipher will be looking to extend their class lead at North Nevada, where they will face competition from father and son competitors Jim and Michael Robison in their Volvo 142 who are currently fourth in class.

The 2011 North Nevada Rally features 120 miles of smooth gravel stage with challenging switchbacks. The Friday stages southwest of Lovelock, NV start before sundown, and then competitors run them in reverse direction after dark. Saturday the competitors return to the well-known stages near Gerlach, featuring sandy washes, big jumps and tight, tricky turns. For more information on the North Nevada Rally, visit http://www.northnevadarally.com.

The California Rally Series is the premier performance rally championship in the southwestern United States. The Series incorporates events from various sanctioning bodies in order to create a meaningful regional championship for its members. The Series celebrates more than 35 continuous years of performance rally, making it the longest running rally series in the United States. To learn more about the California Rally Series visit www.californiarallyseries.com and follow @crspress on twitter.

 

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