|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||December 12, 1983|
CARSON CITY, Nevada -- It's official. John Buffum, Doug Shepherd and the Audi Quattro are simply the best PRO Rally team in America. They had eight wins, one second and one dnf in ten starts this season. Their last win, in the desert and mountains around this capital city of Nevada capped the best season that Buffum and Shepherd have ever had. They pulled out to an early lead over Rod Millen and R. Dale Kraushaar in the prototype 4wd Mazda RX-7 who saw all hopes of winning fade when the engine went sour and had to be changed(!) on the car.
Second went to the grand dame of U.S. PRO Rallying, the Peugeot 504 Coupe of Jon Woodner and Ginny Reese. Woodner says that the Carson City event was probably the last for this car which first competed as a factory team car in Africa in 1979. The car still runs well enough to be the top placing two wheel drive car on nearly every event it has entered, making Peugeot the highest ranking manufacturer running without 4wd.
As usual, it was the Production Class where most of the action and drama happened at Carson City with English rally ace Tony Pond eventually running away from the field in the Mitsubishi Cordia. John Crawford and Craig Marr finished second, five minutes back, in their Dodge Shelby.
Pond was driving his first U.S. rally ever and seemed to have little trouble with a car with the steering wheel on the "wronq" side. "A couple of times I rolled the window down when I went to switch gears, but it wasn't bad." He had the distinction of having two different co-drivers. USA Today reporter, Dick Price, started the event but had to leave the seat Saturday evening to file a story, so Rob Arthur, Pond's regular co-driver took over for the final stages of the 456 mile, 13 stage event. Pond said he was amazed at the durability of the Cordia which he feared wouldn't be up to his "enthusiastic" style of driving.
Local husband/wife team, Don and Debbie Ohnstad of Reno had their best National finish ever with a fifth in their Jeep pickup, good enough to also claim a special prize for the best finish by a husband/wife team, Another family team, Dean and Dane Blagowsky from New Mexico, took their VW Baja Bug to take seventh in an event that saw only 21 of the original 64 starters survive to the Sunday finish at the Ormsby House in downtown Carson City.
Notable dnf's included Guy Light's Oldsmobile Omega which went out on stage nine when the rouqh roads ate the car's suspension while it was leading. Gary Eaton, who was challenging for the lead in his Peugeot when the engine threw a rod on stage 11, and the AMC Eagle two-car team of Gene and Garry Henderson, who had bad luck everywhere, Garry's car broke a half-shaft on stage six and Gene's car had carburation trouble about the same time. They got that fixed only to have the electrics fail on stage 11. They rolled to a stop near the Eaton's and the two cars "combined" cars by taking the battery from the Peugeot and putting it into the Eagle to drive out of the stage.
Big winners in Rallying this Year in addition to Buffum/Shepherd/Audi were the folks at Chrysler. They finished 1-2 in Production Class with Plymouth and Dodge while Steve Nowicki won the Production Driver's Championship in his Plymouth Arrow and Craig Marr won the co-driver's race running in John Crawford's Dodge Shelby.
SCCA CONTACTS: Tim Cline, 321 Saw Mill Road, Guilford, Connecticut 06437 (203)453-1742
T. Michael Moreland, 6750 S. Emporia St., Englewood, Colorado 80112
EVENT: Carson Citv International EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Reno Reqion, SCCA LOCATION: Carson City, Nevada LENGTH: 456.08 miles, 13 stages DATE: December 10-11, 1983 WEATHER: Cold, rainy, snow at higher elevations ENTRANTS: 64 FINISHERS: 21 TERRAIN: Desert and high Sierra roads PROD. PROD. FIN. CHAMP. MFG. CHAMP. MFG. POS. DRIVER/CO-DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS POINTS POINTS 1. John Buffum, S. Burlington, Vt. Audi 228.14 20 20 Doug Shepherd, Livonia, Mich. Quattro 20 2. Jon Woodner, Washington, D.C. Peugeot 239.83 15 15 Ginny Reese, Chelsea, Mich, 504 15 3. Rod Millen, Costa Mesa, Calif. Mazda 254.36 12 12 R. Dale Kraushaar, Tigard, Oreg. RX-7 12 4.(1P) Tony Pond, London, England Mitsubishi 260.98 10 10 20 20 Dick Price, Washington, D.C. Cordia 10 20 5. Don Ohnstad, Reno, Nev. Jeep J20 264.36 8 8 Debbie Ohnstad, Reno, Nev. 8 6.(2P) John Crawford, Okmulgee, Okla. Dodge 266.16 6 6 15 15 Craig Marr, Chico, Calif. Charger 6 15 7. Dean Blagowsky, Pinon, N.M. VW Baja 266.83 4 Dane Blagowsky, Pinon, N.M. 8. Larry Schmidt, Aurora, Colo. Dodge 279.48 3 Jerry Welc, Warren, Mich. Colt 3 9. Rod Koch, Norco, Calif. VW Baja 282.97 2 Steven Frazee, Ontario, Calif. 2 10.(3P) Ken Nielsen, San Jose, Calif. Toyota 283.66 1 12 12 Douglas Cover, San Jose, Calif. Corolla 1 12 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1. Tony Pond, London, England Mitsubishi 260.98 20 20 Dick Price, Washington, D.C. Cordia 20 2 John Crawford, Okmulgee, Okla. Dodge 266.16 15 15 Craig Marr, Chico, Calif. Charger 15 3 Ken Nielsen, San Jose, Calif. Toyota 283.66 12 12 Douglas Cover, San Jose, Calif. Corolla 12 UNITED STATES RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER TWELVE EVENTS DRIVER (Current Car) PRODUCTION DRIVER (Current Car) 1. John Buffum, Audi 120 1. Steve Nowicki, Plymouth 102 2. Rod Millen, Mazda 100 2. Gene Henderson, AMC 87 3. Jon Woodner, Peugeot 86 3. John Crawford, Dodge 81 CO-DRIVER PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER 1. Doug Shepherd 120 1. Craig Marr 93 2. R. Dale Kraushaar 89 2. Jim Kloosterman 75 3. Ginny Reese 86 3. Brian Berg 68 MANUFACTURER PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER 1. Audi 155 1. Plymouth 106 2. Mazda 139 2. Dodge 101 3. Peugeot 78 3. AMC 88