February 14th, 2000
Colchester, VT – Officials at Vermont SportsCar, based in Colchester, VT, announced today that Jon Pizzagalli, formerly of South Burlington, VT, now living in Charlotte, NC, teamed up with Lance Smith of Hinesburg, VT and owner of Vermont SportsCar to capture an impressive fourth place overall in the Perce Neige Rallye held in Maniwaki, Quebec this past weekend. Taking the overall win in Canada was the team of Tom McGee and Mark Williams driving a Subaru Impreza.
Competing in a Vermont SportsCar-owned and prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V, the team of Pizzagalli and Smith were one of forty eight rally cars representing nineteen different automotive manufacturers in the second round of the 8-event Subaru Canadian Rally Championship. Due to the fact Pizzagalli has not competed in any Canadian rallies in quite some time, the pair started 19th in the field but quickly moved up. By the fourth stage of the rally which consisted of nearly 250 kilometers of Special Stages, Pizzagalli / Smith had moved up to 10th place in the rally and by the 7th stage, they had moved up to 6th overall.
Constantly changing surface conditions along the rally played an important role and forced teams to stay on guard for the entire rally. Canadian rally Ace and current Canadian National Champion Frank Sprongl experienced a very unusual situation as he and his brother Dan went off on stage 5 in their Audi S-2 causing them to lose almost 9 minutes to the leaders. Shortly thereafter, legendary Canadian ice-racer Jon Nichols driving a Group 2 VW Golf GTI also went off course right after a series of jumps on stage 6. According to officials, conditions along the routes varied from 3 inches of hard-packed snow to snow & ice, some gravel and completely ice-covered making things difficult for everyone.
“We were hoping to finish in the top-five,” stated Co-Driver Lance Smith “so we met our objective. Jon did a great job driving. He was very relaxed and smooth throughout the entire rally.” According to Pizzagalli, “We drove a fairly conservative rally this weekend as we just wanted to get some miles as well as seat-time and bring the car back in one piece. There’s no doubt though that the Ohlins suspension system on the Evo V saved us at least twice. The car handled incredibly well throughout the entire rally – it was an absolute joy to drive!”
The fourth place finish overall in the Perce Neige Rallye for the team of Pizzagalli / Smith was Pizzagalli’s best national finish ever. His plans for the remainder of the season call for him to drive a Vermont SportsCar-prepared rally car in several more Subaru Canadian Rally Championship and Sports Car Club of America Pro Rally Series events this season. The date and location of his next rally has not yet been determined.
For more information regarding Jon Pizzagalli’s return to Performance Rally competition, Vermont SportsCar or the Perce Neige Rallye, please contact Paul Giblin, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Vermont SportsCar by telephone at (802) 655-3533 or by E-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org