|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
June 7, 1999
|For more information, contact: Frank or Dan Sprongl|
WELLSBORO, PA-- Their hopes of a repeat win in the most popular rally in the U.S. ended against a stout maple tree here Saturday as Canadian Rally Champions Frank and Dan Sprongl crashed while leading the SCCA Susquehannock Trail ProRally.
The Mississauga, Ontario pair and their Audi Dealer Team Castrol S2 coupe held a narrow 9 second lead over Irishmen Noel Lawler and Charles Bradley in a Hyundai, with a further 16 seconds in hand over the factory Hyundai of Americans Paul Choiniere and Jeff Becker when the rally reached the halfway point. But the sixth special stage of the day was dusty and the defending champions caught the right side of the car on a tree in a third gear corner, ending their rally.
"Amazingly, there was minimal mechanical damage," explains co-driver Dan Sprongl. "Bodywork, frame rail, strut tower -- they're all bent. But the engine and transmission seem to be fine." Neither driver was injured.
Choiniere and Becker went on to win the event ahead of Lawler and Bradley. A field of 80 cars started the rally, making it the most popular event in the SCCA rally schedule. The Sprongl brothers won the rally in 1998.
Susquehannock was the first rally the team failed to finish since last October, and marks the end of a six-event winning streak for the pair. The five-time Canadian and three-time North American rally champs are currently leading the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship. The Susquehannock is part of a four-event deal with Castrol USA for 1999 that will see the team return to defend their title and the Audi - Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire later this month.