Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 2:27am
2002 U.S. 2WD champion Lauchlin O’Sullivan and co-driver Scott Putnam won their day long battle with 2011 Super Production champions Travis Hanson and his father/co-driver Terry Hanson at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood in Missouri. The fight saw O’Sullivan start the last two stages .4 seconds behind the Hansons. But at the end they were 43.9 seconds ahead in fourth place overall.
Something must have clicked for O’Sullivan and Putnam over the last two loops of the two day rally. The team fought minor issues all weekend with their car including engine ignition and tire problems. The biggest problem, though, might have been faulty brakes that were constantly going soft in the middle of the stage. That’s not a good thing on the high speed stages on 100 Acre Wood, considered the fastest in the U.S. rally championship. But those issues apparently were resolved. In the last two loops of stages O’Sullivan and Putnam were faster than their main rivals, The Hansons, on six of the last seven tests finishing third overall in the last four stages.
Here’s some reaction from Lauchlin and Scott, both exhausted after the victory celebration.
Lauchlin: The last two stages we actually worked out our brake issues. The service before that we were able to rid our rough running engine. A fuel injector was bad. So we had a full car again. We were able to put in some good times. We were able to run where we should have been running all day. We were in the top three overall in the last five stages. That’s the way we roll! A little smack talk is warranted when you win. I guess that’s OK!
Fourth overall. We really feel good about that. I loved the roads. The roads were awesome. They were so much fun. But let’s be serious for a bit. I’ve been a factory driver. In 2002 I was the U.S. 2WD champion. I really think there’s more in me. I’ve always done rallies and done well. Podiums in national events. First in class type of stuff. I always wanted to be around so that if the sport came back I’d be in a position to have a seat. Last year we got involved with a car that wasn’t very good. We always finished. But It was a real bad year last year. This year we have a chance to prove we are one of the fastest teams around.
I have a lot left in me. Ken Block and I are the same age. He’s running well. And I sure feel that I have a lot more to give. There’s a lot more to be had from me. With a descent car I can make it happen.
Will we have the descent car before Portland? We haven’t decided how that’s going to happen. But we have the time now with two-and-a-half months before Oregon Trail, the next event. We have to work things out with our sponsors to make those kind of things happen. Getting back to the top of the podium is really important especially in the highly competitive Super Production category. We’re very fortunate but we worked hard for this and I’m happy.
Putnam: We had a lot of issues with the car especially the brakes. We had to replace the calipers and the brake discs. Once we got those things worked out it was much better. The last two stages we had a proper working car. Hopefully we can get that proper working car before Portland in two months. We had a lot of stuff that was going wrong the last two days but we were able to deal with it. I’ve got to say we are pleased with the finish, just to get this far. With Lauchlin we seem to do well in the finishing department. Hopefully we can convince people of that importance.
We were performing well together this whole event. We were pleased with that. Having a car that worked properly allowed us to go that much faster. He was driving the car one way for three-quarters of the event then all of a sudden the speeds come up and he had to drive it differently. I think Lauchlin had to change his driving style because of that but you’d have to ask him about that.
The last few stages went well. What was amazing was that you take an event like Sno*Drift and there wasn’t much attrition. You come up here and people were going out. I’m just pleased. I’m very tired. Now I know how the fast guys feel!