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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
STPR 2005 should be remembered as a classic.

The huge crowds of spectators were entertained by, not just one or two fast drivers but at least a dozen of them. Paul Choiniere, of course and the other obvious suspects like Blomqvist, Richard and Pastrana, but there were huge cheers for Matt Iorio, Ken Block, Tom Lawless, Tanner Foust and others.

How "huge" a crowd? We had to leave one of the lesser spectator points on SS2 early to get to our next camera position. I zeroed the odo and measured 1.2 miles of spectator cars parked bumper-to-bumper!

Paul Choinere proved he?s still The Man at STPR, but my Star of the Rally goes to Shane Mitchell. Everyone knew they had to push really hard on the 21-mile stage 5, but Mitchell pushed hardest and took the lead, which he extended on Stage 6. Power steering failure and a mysterious engine problem on SS7 returned Choinere to the front but a dramatic finish was set to unfold as the three last stages would be repeated after dark.

Choiniere and Becker had been spanked on that long stage by Mitchell. Paul said he ?had a bit more but I actually thought a we?d gone pretty fast?. Now he would have to charge to avoid what seemed like an iinevitable comeback win for Mitchell. Suddenly, the plot thickens because second-place Mitchell has major problems. The steering rack had been replaced but the car is running on just three cylinders and the crew has run out of time and can?t find the problem. With just 3 minutes to go they seriously consider withdrawing but decide to ?drive it until it blows? (this is paraphrased from a much more descriptive but vulgar quote best imagined with an Irish accent).

Choiniere, running first on the road, can?t be sure whether Mitchell is really limping or just sandbagging. Paul takes no chances and blitzes the stage, winning by over 30 seconds! Blomqvist looks set to inherit second place overall with no risk. In a brilliant (or merely generous?) bit of racecraft Mitchell/Patterson encourage Blomqvist/Gullick to start stage 8 ahead of them and then proceed to drive like hell on just three cylinders. Stig obviously relaxed over the next 21 miles, believing Mitchell?s near-certain-DNF story. When he saw Mitchell arrive less than one minute behind him, he knew he?d been snookered.

It wasn?t over yet. There were still two stages. But SS9 was cancelled by reports of beer-drinking fans who seemed certain to throw themselves onto the road. That cancellation ended Stig?s hopes for second place. He was only able to take 2 seconds per mile off the 3-cylinder Irishman on SS10 and the podium was set. Very well-played, Mr. Mitchell.

Was Stig going all out to beat Paul Choiniere and Shane Mitchell? No, because they won?t be factors in the championship which the Swede now leads. Could he have caught them? I don?t think so. Not at STPR. Those two in Open Class cars were just too fast.

The majority of the stages had new all-time records set this year. Have you ever had more really quick drivers in as evenly- matched cars at the front? Let?s stop whining about how great it used to be and appreciate the impressive depth of driving talent and car prep that we?ve got today. Based on my first trip to STPR, I can?t wait until the next Rally America event.
 

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I have to say that (based on the 4 & 2/3 stages we did) we were really surprised at the lack of cars we saw stuffed in the woods. I though that maybe everyone was taking it easy in the morning in light of all the rain Friday, and waiting until the dark of night to turn up the wick...that is until I looked at the stage times :eek: :eek: Quite the contrast to last year's DNF fest.

Congrats to everyone who finished, and thanks to all the workers :* :*

Matt Kennedy
www.RockyRoadRacing.com
 

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eating dust taking photos
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I'd start drinking water to compensate for the low landers effect for Pikes Peak }(



I can't wait to hear the bellyaching from the people that drank what they normally do and get a severely splitting hangover....


Already planning out my photo spots....
 

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Hey, parked cars were only 1.2 miles long??
I thought i walked at least 2 :) (Unfortunately, was one of the last cars parked and thought I arrived early...)

Awesome rally, congratulations to everyone that competed and finished...

Oscar
 

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So the theory is that Stig didnt win because he wasnt trying? Who comes here to rally from another country to cruise? Come on now, the fast stages and the power deficit played a factor Im sure, but dont say he wasnt trying. Paul and Shane were both driving very hard, all trickery aside.

Brandon

And yes, I was there.
 

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>So the theory is that Stig didnt win because he wasnt trying?
>Who comes here to rally from another country to cruise? Come
>on now, the fast stages and the power deficit played a factor
>Im sure, but dont say he wasnt trying. Paul and Shane were
>both driving very hard, all trickery aside.
>
>Brandon
>
>And yes, I was there.

I think that's an accurate appraisal.

1. STPR favors hp. A good Open class car should win. Stig did win GpN handily over the reigning champ.

2. Look at the stage times and remember all those stage records that were broken belonged to people with names like Higgins and Lovell. The general level of competition this year was excellent.

And no, I wasn't there (but when I started running these roads, the rally was called Happiness is Sunrise, and it was put on by the Volvo Club of Buffalo).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Of course Stig was trying to win...the RA Championship. The team could see that under those road conditions, against that competition, a Group N car could not win STPR. Stig Blomqvist could certainly outrun Shane Mitchell running on just 3 of 4 cylinders as he proved on Stage 10. On SS10 Stig was 2 seconds faster per mile, but on the long 22-mile stage 8 Jens' hero was beaten by the Open class 3-cylinder Mitchell. On that evidence, I rest my case that Stig was cruising to a well-earned second place. He also won Group N and is leading the championship going to Pike's Peak. There wasn't a scratch on the car either, so I'd say Stig had a pretty good weekend.

Pat Richard and Travis Pastrana are the drivers who will force Stig Blomqvist to one day show all his cards. Neither one had a good run at STPR. The Richards chased engine problems all day long and Pastrana/Edstrom had issues on 6 and 7.

Here's a new theory to consider. The 1984 World Champion (or any 58-year-old for that matter) would have vision issues after dark. If he didn't that would be really super human.
 

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>...Jens' hero....

We, Stig and I, are Scandinavian brothers. He got the good rally genes. I got the crap.

>Pat Richard.....will force Stig Blomqvist to....

Pat (nor anyone else) will force Stig to anything.

I love Canadians. They are a charming bunch. You're eternally optimistic in the face of certain doom... how quaint.
 

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>
>I love Canadians. They are a charming bunch. You're
>eternally optimistic in the face of certain doom... how
>quaint.
>
>

Well, judging by the example you've set, would that make Scandinavians eternally pessimistic then?
 

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your other left, you idiot
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Lawrence & Co.-

I was working radio at finish of SS7/10. These guys were incredibly polite about asking if it was OK for them to be there, and if it was OK to interview the drivers as they finished the stage (and the event), and asking to be directed out (so they didn't interfere with the running of the stage).

You guys exude professionalism. Thanks for coming.

press on,
 

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this years STPR was a good one. I wasnt there but i heard a lot of good stories. I bet the competitors had a blast and hope they have a good race like they had this for next years STPR
 

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Maybe it falls under the old "what I can't see can't hurt me..." thought. Kurt always went faster at night and he claimed it was because there was less stuff to distract him.

George Thompson
 
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