FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2002
Contact: John Dillon
Creativity in Action
P.O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231
Widget Website: www.WidgetRacing.com
Laughlin, Nevada -- Driver Leon Styles (Mission Viejo, CA) and navigator John Dillon (Thousand Oaks, CA) have earned a second championship for the 2002 rally season. Despite an engine failure in a new-for-the-team Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, the team's driver and codriver each earned California Rally Series (CRS) championship titles thanks to strong performances earlier in the season. They were racing at the Ramada Express International Rally headquartered in Laughlin, Nevada. At the previous event, the Prescott Forest Rally in Arizona, the team clinched the Southern Pacific Division's Open and Overall crowns while racing their old car, a 1990 Audi Quattro.
Their CRS trophies were earned based on a dominant season. They won three events outright, then added a second place and a third place finish to the tally. Ramada Express was the only CRS rally the team failed to complete.
The team arranged to debut the Evo at the Ramada Express International Rally after working with Mark Nelson of Sierra Motorsport to campaign the car on a race-by-race basis for 2003. "Leon proved he could drive when he won the SoPac championship in a 12-year-old Audi," reported Nelson. "I was glad we could work out a deal so Leon could try a much newer car for the Ramada Express event." Coincidentally, Nelson and his navigator Alex Gelsomino finished first overall in the Laughlin rally, racing a Subaru prepared by AV Sport.
"Man, what a ride!" beamed Dillon after the first stage. "I could tell Leon was just taking it easy and getting used to the performance of the Evo, yet we still moved from eighth place to second after the very first stage!" The first day's roads were technical, tight and twisty, snaking through the forest above the Grand Canyon. "The Evo handled like poetry," reported the navigator. "The car floated over the crests, landing as gentle as a kiss, then danced between the trees without skipping a beat."
Two stages later the engine let go, sidelining the team for the weekend. Styles' disappointment was apparent yet he managed to keep a philosophical attitude about it all. "It was a bummer to lose the engine so early in the race but we proved we could run with the big boys this weekend. I just wish we could have been there at the finish."
For the 2003 season, they plan to continue campaigning the Mitsubishi, but the specific events remain to be determined. The Widget Rally Team is supported by Tombstone Paintball Park, Porterfield Enterprises, Sampson Communications and Shults Dot Com. Additional sponsorship is being sought to help the team race the full national series. If the money can't be found the team may choose to vie for the Western States Rally Championship instead.
For more information contact John Dillon at John @ WidgetRacing.com or visit http://www.WidgetRacing.com.