ESPR 2018 - Brennan & James Win

For Immediate Release 

Brennan/James Beat Rivals & Weather to Win Empire State Rally 

Tusten, New York, U.S.A., October 28 -- Patrick Brennan/Matthew James (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) took a start-to-finish win in the Empire State Performance Rally (“ESPR”), giving Brennan a “hat trick” (three wins in a row) in New York State’s premier high speed auto rally. They were almost eight minutes ahead of the field at the finish. 

ESPR began with a display of the cars and ceremonial start on Friday evening in the town of Tusten, with Sullivan county Sheriff Michael Schiff and Undersheriff Eric Chaboty presiding. The competitive portion of the rally consisted of 250 miles of local roads in the Catskill Mountains on Saturday and Sunday, including 140 miles special stages against the clock over dirt roads in the Ten Mile River Scout Camp. The Saturday leg was buffeted by heavy rain and wind, the remains of Hurricane Willa which struck Mexico and then became a rain storm in the eastern U.S. “You had to be really careful,” said Brennan. “In some places you could go at normal speed, but in other places, on clay for instance, you had to go a little slower. But you couldn’t go too easy because somebody back in the field could be catching you.” His car’s engine was never stopped by the water, but “the car shut down to two or three [of its four] cylinders once or twice.” On Sunday, with the rain past, the roads began to dry and driving was much easier. 

Frank Cunningham/Ross Forde finished second overall with a performance that was as impressive as that of the winners – they ran among the all-wheel-drive turbos, on a muddy course, with a non-turbo, rear-wheel-drive 1976 Ford Escort. Ducker Felix/Santiago Jarrin (Subaru WRX STi) placed third, five minutes further back. (Note: Felix/Jarrin were second in the national event standings, as Cunningham did not enter the national championship portion of the rally.) 

Event chairwoman Fran Gager was full of praise for the marshals who staffed the rally’s many checkpoints, where competitors were scored. “We give all the volunteers credit for staying out in the woods [through the storm],” said Gager. “None of them ever complained.” The workers represented car clubs from around the Northeast, as well as three colleges -- Alfred State College, Rowan College, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Praise must also go to all of the teams’ service crews (rally equivalent of pit crews), who repeatedly cleaned mud from wheels and brakes, and cleared muck out of engine compartments, keeping the cars going. 

ESPR will return to the Catskill Mountains, hopefully with much milder weather, on October 26-27, 2019. Mark your calendars. 

Results, NASA national championship event: 

1. Patrick Brennan/Matthew James (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9), 1st All Wheel Drive (AWD) class, 2:10:29 

2. Duncker Felix/Santiago Jarrin (Subaru WRX STi), 2nd AWD, 2:23:49 

3. Esteban Romero/Sebastian Guerrero (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 3rd AWD, 2:27:01 

4. Matthew Peterson/Lori Clute (Honda Civic Hatchback), 1st 2WD, 2:46:02 

5. Radoslaw Wlodarczyk/Cameron Carr (Honda Fit), 2nd 2WD, 2:48:54 

6. Liam Mulvey/Brian McNamara (Mazda RX-7), 3rd 2WD 

7. Dennis Romero/Santiago Alban (Subaru WRX STi), 4th AWD 

Results, Atlantic Rally Cup regional event: 

1. Patrick Brennan/Matthew James (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9), 1st AWD class, 2:10:29 

2. Frank Cunningham/Ross Forde (Ford Escort), 1st 2WD, 2:18:20 

3. Duncker Felix.Santiago Jarrin (Subaru WRX STi), 2nd AWD, 2:23:49 

4. Esteban Romero/Sebastian Guerrero (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8), 3rd AWD, 2:27:01 

5. Scott Beliveau/Keith Liggett (Volkswagen Golf), 2nd 2WD, 2:33:55 

6. Matthew Peterson/Lori Clute (Honda Civic Hatchback), 3rd 2WD, 2:46:02 

7. Radoslaw Wlodarczyk/Cameron Carr (Honda Fit), 4th 2WD, 2:48:54 

8. Kai Tanaka/Samuel Weldon (Suzuki Swift GTi), 5th 2WD, 3:09:18 

9. Dharmendra Patel/Hetal Patel (Subaru Impreza WRX STi), 4th AWD 

10. Eamon Fallon/Andrew Boone (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo), 5th AWD 

For further information, contact: 

Thomas Barker, Press Officer - 203-247-6375