Pikes Peak sees first co-champions
Basalt’s Paul Dallenbach and Albuquerque’s Robby Unser shared the overall title in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Saturday.The diplomatic resolution was reached after foul weather hampered the 82nd running of one the most infamous auto races in the United States, and it marks the first time two drivers have been co-champions.Owing to a mixture of rain, hail and snow, race officials were forced to delay the race for about two hours just after noon – after many of the racers, including Unser, had already run the entire 156-turn course.And when racing resumed Saturday afternoon, racers still waiting to run, including Dallenbach, were restricted to running only half the course, about six miles of the total 12.So, while Unser posted the fastest time (11 minutes) to the 14,110-foot summit, Dallenbach recorded the fastest time over the abbreviated course (5 minutes, 6 seconds).”It’s goofy,” Dallenbach said Sunday, “but we’re all happy with it. Really, the only fair way to do it was to have a co-overall champion. Robby and I talked about it; it was out of everybody’s hands.”You always want to run the whole [race course], but the only option was to run halfway up.”David Donner of Colorado Springs, who was two-tenths of a second behind Dallenbach in Thursday’s qualifier, finished second to Dallenbach in the open-wheel class, six seconds back.Dallenbach, the defending overall champion and eight-time Pikes Peak veteran, said the weather and slick road conditions made for an interesting race.”You would not believe the weather – lightning was striking right next to the pits,” he said. “We got about 2 inches of hail at the bottom and maybe 6 inches on top.”Definitely the most challenging conditions I’ve seen. The pavement was so slick in the first three miles that every time you hit the paint lines, which was every turn, you just started sliding. ESPN had a camera in our car, and they should have some really cool shots.”
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