Seamus Burke/Eddie Fries (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) have won International Rally New York for the second year running. For this former national champion team, this comes at the end of a season of mechanical difficulties.
At the finish, Burke/Fries were three minutes ahead of Seamus’ son Joseph Burke and co-driver Ole Holter (Subaru Impreza WRX). Holter noted at the finish, that this was only the younger Burke’s second outing in a powerful turbocharged, all-wheel-drive car – and in the first he won the Black River Stages Rally in Upstate New York.
Celsus Donnelly/Barry Smyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) had been a solid second for most of the rally. But with two special stages remaining, the car engine failed, apparently due to head gasket failure.
Brian Scott/John Dillon (Subaru Impreza WRX) finished third, after a cool performance in which they went just fast enough for a top finish – sufficient to take the all-wheel-drive category title in the United States Rally Championship.
The two-wheel-drive (2WD) category in the rally was taken by the husband-wife team of Kristopher and Christine Marciniak (Dodge Neon), who also won the 2WD division of the United States Rally Championship. They were followed to the finish by Dan Brosnan/Shane McCann (Nissan Sentra) and the father-son team of Simon and Kieran Wright (Ford Focus).
Hampton Bridwell/Josh Katinger (Ford Focus SVT) were in contention with Marciniak/Marciniak early in the rally, for both the 2WD win and championship. But when the Ford slid off the road on the first day, the team was forced to “play catch-up.” They were closing on the leaders again when they rolled the car – without harm to themselves, but it put them out of the rally.
This was the largest entry field at a National Championship rally this season. The competition both in all-wheel-drive and two-wheel drive was very close among the large number of contenders in both categories as evidenced by stage times.
International Rally New York was the final round of the United States Rally Championship and the New York Rally Championship. It began in Callicoon, New York on Thursday evening, and ended in nearby Walton this evening. This all-gravel event used several new, smooth gravel stages that were praised by competitors.
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