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Greg Roumiantsev and Zsanett Martaine Fabian (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) were the overall winners in the Empire State Performance Rally (ESPR), a new auto rally which took place in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.  This was a dream debut for Roumiantsev, a veteran rally mechanic and experienced ice racing driver who was driving in a rally for the first time.

Roumiantsev was among the leaders on the first (of two) days of competition, and took first overall at one point but a small off-course excursion late on Saturday opened the door for a hard-charging Michael Reilly/Josh Benthien (Ford Focus) to lead at day’s end by nearly half a minute, and stay ahead through most of Sunday.  (The front-wheel-drive Focus should have been at a serious disadvantage to the all-wheel-drive opposition, but this seems not to have been a problem.) 

In the final stages of the event, Reilly’s car suffered a broken pipe into the turbocharger, slowing it enough to allow Roumiantsev to erase the deficit and build a one-minute lead over Reilly into the final checkpoint.

Colin Bombara/Larry Pantzer (Subaru Impreza) placed third, a further minute behind Reilly, but only seven seconds ahead of Jude DeMeis/Pascal Belperron (Subaru Legacy).  Matt Gottlieb/Austin Gager (Subaru Impreza) finished fifth.  Subaru proved the most popular brand at the rally, used by 13 of the 21 finishers.

Alvin Fong/William Machin (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) finished sixth, in the best-placed stock vehicle.  Erika Detota/Mary Warren (Subaru Impreza, the only all-woman team) finished seventh, and second in the two-wheel-drive class.  In the last miles of the final special stage, Detota/Warren landed hard from a jump, damaging the transmission.  So when they motored away from the finish control, the transmission made noises, suggesting that its miles were numbered.  But Fong/Machin (legally and sportingly) gave the ladies a tow through most of the last transit zone to the finish line, at which time they disconnected the tow line so that the Subaru could finish under its own power.

The Empire State Performance Rally covered 230 miles of roads in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, about 80 miles from New York City, including 105 miles of special stages.  The roads were entirely paved (tarmac), a novelty among North American performance rallies but common in some other parts of the world.  Although this was the first ESPR, the organizing group included many veterans from previous rallies in the region.  The event was sanctioned by the National Auto Sport Association (NASA).

Results - Empire State Rally:
1. Greg Roumiantsev/Zsanett Martaine Fabian (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10), 1:05:36
2. Michael Reilly/Josh Benthien (Ford Focus), 1:06:47, 1st 2WD
3. Colin Bombara/Larry Pantzer (Subaru Impreza RS), 1:07:56
4. Jude DeMeis/Pascal Belperron (Subaru Legacy), 1:08:03
5. Matt Gottlieb/Austin Gager (Subaru Impreza WRX STI), 1:08:37
6. Alvin Fong/William Machin (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9), 1:10:42
7. Erika Detota/Mary Warren (Subaru Impreza), 1:11:33, 2nd 2WD
8. Sebastian Kokoszka/Jesse Lewis (Subaru Impreza WRX), 1:12:41
9. Kevin Allen/Elizabeth Cordara (Subaru Impreza), 1:12:54
10. Brian McNamara/Amber Stacy (Subaru Impreza), 1:13:31
11. Kevin Turner/Matthew Rhoads (Subaru Impreza), 1:14:04, 3rd 2WD
12. Neal Liddle/J. Scott Sibya (Subaru Impreza WRX), 1:14:10
13. Rory Gardiner/Steve Harrell (Subaru Impreza RS), 1:15:03
14. Brian Barton/Joachim Sandgaard (Mazda 323), 1:15:22, 4th 2WD
15. Gary DeMasi/Stephen Kurey (Ford Ranger GT pickup), 1:16:53, 5th 2WD, only truck
16. Ian Oliver/Chris Mullen (Subaru Impreza WRX), 1:17:25
17. Simon Wright/Kieran Wright (Subaru Impreza), 1:18:30
18. J. Tyler Rohrer/Dane Hylan (Ford Focus SVT), 1:24:41, 5th 2WD
19. Timothy Meunier/Seth Achilles (Subaru Impreza), 1:24:48
20. William Petrow/Jeremy Neyhart (Nissan 240SX), 1:30:26
21. Mark Hille/Thomas Gundersen (Merkur XR4Ti), 1:41:02

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