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Higgins and O’Sullivan battle tough weather and tougher competition en route to dual podium finishes at Rim of the World rally.
Team Mitsubishi Motor Sports America is sitting on top of the world. The Rim of the World rally ended Saturday with the Michelin shod Lancer Evolutions having again proven its competition heritage and outstanding performance. Team Mitsubishi driver David Higgins battled brand new Subaru Impreza WRX STi’s, and has won the 2003 SCCA Rim of the World ProRally. Higgins’ California native team-mate Lauchlin O’Sullivan brought his Lancer Evolution to third overall, his first podium finish with the new Mitsubishi team.
This year’s Rim of the World event saw unbelievable weather and treacherous conditions. Fast moving clouds and high winds brought driving cold rain the Angeles National Forest. Competition stages, normally feared for their dust problems, instead became a racers nightmare with ice-like conditions in the mud. Daniel Barritt noted “it’s been very difficult for the driver and the co-driver with the rain and the fog. It was very extreme, I’ve never been in anything like that before ever.” As a result of the conditions, only three of the eight scheduled stages were run on Saturday, ending the event early.
Leading the way was David Higgins and Daniel Barritt, driving the number one Mitsubishi with control and precision all day, never looking back and only building on their Friday lead. Higgins fought his way to the top last season and appears to be doing the same this year. The Lancer Evolution is a perfect fit, and together they are going to be a tough team to beat.
Lauchlin O’Sullivan, along with co-driver Christian Edstrom, charged his way through the unprecedented and unforeseen weather and road condition to his best ever open class performance.
With limited experience in an open class car and a new co-driver for this event, Lauchlin O’Sullivan deserves much respect for his result. And when asked about the day, O’Sullivan was thrilled. “The roads out there were real nasty, it’s one of those things where you keep it clean and the results will come to you.”
At the end of the day, with the dueling Lancer Evolutions sitting on the podium, Team Mitsubishi Motor Sports America could not be happier. Team manager John Kennard summed it up best; “two events, two fantastic results.”
“The roads out there were real nasty, it’s one of those things where you keep it clean and the results will come to you.” – Lauchlin O’Sullivan
“It’s been very difficult for the driver and the co-driver with the rain and the fog. It was very extreme, I’ve never been in anything like that before ever.” – Daniel Barritt