Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 2:26am
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 this last two loops of stages O’Sullivan and Putnam were faster than their main rivals, The Hansons, on six of the last five stages finishing third overall in the last four stages.
O’Sullivan, in fact, made considerable time on SS15, the last stage before the service at Viburnum High School less than an hour outside of the rally headquarters in Salem, MO. The 4.13 mile CR1 West stge saw O’Sullivan and Putnam finish third overall on the stage behind two world class drivers, WRC veteran Ken Block, a five-time winner on 100 Acre Wood, and 2011 U.S. rally champion David Higgins. O’Sullivan turned in a time of 3:33.5 to Hanson’s 3:41.1. O’Sullivan was even ahead of former Polish and European rally champion Krzystof Holowczyc competing in the U.S. for the first time this weekend in Missouri.