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Four tree two remember Andrew
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The New York Times, December 15, 1985

Copyright 1985 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

December 15, 1985, Sunday, Late City Final Edition

SECTION: Section 5; Page 6, Column 5; Sports Desk

LENGTH: 507 words

HEADLINE: Pro-Rally Racing Seeks Exposure


In Carson City, Nev., last Sunday, the Sports Car Club of America's Pro-Rally season ended as it in 9 of the last 11 years - with John Buffum winning the driver's championship.

Buffum, who drove a turbocharged, four-wheel drive Audi Quattro, has failed only twice to win that driving championship since high-performance rallying began in this country. He drove in a rival sanctioning body's series in 1976 and lost the championship in 1981 when, for sponsorship reasons, he drove an uncompetitive car.

Although the cars that compete must be highway-legal, the pro-rally series is different from the weekend afternoon stopwatch-and-map navigational exercises that characterize the traditional time, speed and distance form of rallying. A pro rally is also run on roads the competitors have never seen, but the event is basically a flat-out race over gravel and dirt roads that are closed to the public. No attempt is made to disguise the proper route, and the navigator's main job is to shout warnings to the driver about hazardous roadway.

High-performance rallying is nearly as popular in Europe as Formula One grand prix racing. A rally car running on a twisting forest road is a spectacular site. Because the action mostly takes place at night and far from population centers, there are few spectators even at major North American events.

The public's lack of interest troubles rally participants and sponsors. Rod Millen, a transplanted New Zealander who won the driver's championship in 1981 and led Mazda to the manufacturing title this year, blames the sanctioning body for the sport's low profile.

''The S.C.C.A. doesn't take it seriously or manage it well,'' Millen said. ''There's been no positive promotion of the sport, and that's been frustrating to the manufacturers.''

Millen and Buffum agree that the addition to the championship of a television-oriented event called a rally sprint - a two-mile lap of a dirt road with tennis-style elimination - would spark wider interest.

3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
3,979 Posts
I was there ...

At Carson City, that is. I was Crew Chief for CMC Motorsports at that event where we fielded PGT Dodge Charger Turbos for John Crawford/Craig Marr and Dick Maxwell/Jim Doidge. I can also tell you that a Nevada Casino is a helluva place to stage the year-end awards banquet!

Halley ...
Owner/Driver ProRally #86 - world's first New Beetle Rally Car
RealAutoSport, LLC
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