Richard Wins Maine Forest Rally BETHEL, ME. (July 30) -
Defending North American champion Pat Richard claimed his second overall victory of the season at the Maine Forest rally this weekend, after a tight battle between Group N Subarus that continued into the final stages. The Canadian saw a minute lead gained during Day 1 shrink to just 27 seconds early Saturday as World Rally champion Stig Blomqvist clawed his way back into the hunt after a mechanical problem early in the race. "I was going flat out," said Richard. There has been speculation throughout the season about how hard the veteran Blomqvist has been pushing as he captured win after win in the Group N class. This mid-season event finally saw him forced to show his hand and the Swede admitted he had to drive hard to keep up. "It's not just like being here on holiday," Blomqvist said Saturday. "Pat is quick and you can't lose any time to any problems." In the final stages of Day 2, Richard and his sister-co-driver Nathalie were able to pull away to finish 42.7 seconds ahead of the rival team. It is their second overall win of the season. They claimed a decisive victory at the snowy season opener, Sno*Drift. Blomqvist and co-driver Ana Goni started Saturday's stages well behind the Richards after a mechanical fault early on Day 1 left the veterans down on power. The pair finished the second stage in 16th position. But Richard and Richard lost nearly half a minute of their lead in the sixth stage alone after they limped through it with a broken driveshaft. The service crew was able to make some repairs, but the team had feared emerging transmission problems might worsen in the closing stages. The transmission held up, however, and they gained 11 seconds on Blomqvist and Goni in the next stage. "We went flat out in that stage and we took 11 seconds on them. After that stage, it was over," Pat Richard said at the finish on Saturday. In third place overall were Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino in a Group N Subaru. It is the first overall podium finish for the team. Block said his luck turned after a flat tire early in the day. The stage roads were rough and Block and Gelsomino were one of many teams who were forced to battle flat tires throughout the rally. Although dust was expected to be a concern, a light wind kept the course clear. "I don't think I slowed down because of the dust on those last stages," said Matthew Johnson who, along with co-driver Wendy Nakamoto, claimed the Production-GT class win. Fourth place overall and the Open class win went to Ramana Lagemann in a 1997 Ford Escort Cosworth. Paul Choiniere, last year's overall winner and an early favorite for the 2005 Maine Forest rally, was out of the race after Friday's stages when a blown head-gasket in his Open class Hyundai Tiburon forced him to withdraw. Also out was crowd favorite and Group N contender Travis Pastrana, a motocross pro who has shown considerable promise as a rally driver. He spun off the road during Friday's fourth stage and took heavy damage to his Subaru. Round six of the championship, the Ojibwe Forests rally takes place August 26 and 27 in Bemidji, MN. --- Story courtesy of Rally America
  2005 Events
  Pat Richard Takes Colorado Cog in Photo Finish-(September 18, 2005) 
  Carolina RS Wins in Maine with Support from NorthCoast Subaru 
  The Crew of WO Rally Team Forced to Retire at Maine Fore