FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2002
Contact: Eric Burmeister
DETROIT, MICHIGAN -- After two days of drama, ice, mud, and snow, the Mazda Protigi MP3 of Eric Burmeister and Eric Adams came out on top of the Group 2 class at the Sno*Drift ProRally in northern Michigan. This rally marked the beginning of the 2002 season in SCCA ProRally. It also marked the beginning of a new manufacturer's battle as Mitsubishi debuted their new Group 2 Lancer with Lauchlin O'Sullivan at the wheel. Mazda Motorsports and Burmeister Rallysport wish to extend their warm welcome to the Mitsubishi/RMR team.
The scene on Thursday was disheartening when a gas tank leak was discovered the evening before the rally following the previous weekend's testing. A call was placed to Mazda Competition Parts at 6:45 P.M. and FedEx delivered a new gas tank to the A-Win-Sands hotel by noon on Friday.a scant two and a half hours before the start of the rally. The diligent crew managed to change the tank and replace the necessary guards with more than an hour to spare.
As the rally got underway, the dash-mounted handbrake in the Mazda Protigi proved useful, as traction in the corners was scarce. Burmeister and Adams managed to stay out of trouble and set a quick pace. Fellow competitor and friend Matthew Johnson was turning in faster times, but the day ended with a solid second place position and a car without damage.
As the rally resumed on Saturday, the conditions were incredibly variable. The roads changed from sand, to glare ice, to deep mud and dark slop that looked like mud, but was a sheet of ice underneath. This inconsistency made it nearly impossible to choose an appropriate tire. Ice tires would provide little traction in the soft mud and mud tires would surely spell doom on the icy corners. The team struggled on with ice tires, as it seemed to be the safest bet.
Burmeister encountered a surprise on Stage 7 as he came up on the back end of the Rivas/Halter AV Sports Subaru. The car was high centered on the outside of a very slippery turn and the #42 Mazda bounced off its rear bumper. A crease down the right side of the car resulted from that encounter, but there was no mechanical damage to either car and both were able to continue. Neither party was overly upset about the mishap. "These things happen," said Burmeister. "I'm just glad we're all okay and able to continue."
Stage 9 presented more surprises in the form of jumps. One series of jumps launched the car several feet in the air. "When we flatlanded," explained Burmeister, "I thought we would have bent suspension or a tweaked car, but the Racecraft built Protege and Sachs struts took the beating like a champ."
As the final stages were winding down, it appeared that the VW of Matthew Johnson and Mark Bowers was lining up well behind the Burmeister Rallysport crew. It seemed as though they made an error on the transit between stages and were several minutes late.
Incredibly, this error allowed the Burmeister Rallysport/Mazda team to clinch the win in Group 2. Johnson/Bowers took second and the Paul White Racing team of Chris Whiteman and Mike Paulin took third. In the Manufacturers' Championship for Group 2, Mazda gets off to a great start with a lead over O'Sullivan's Mitsubishi. "My hat's off to Matthew," commented Burmeister. "He drove a great race. It is going to be a very interesting year!"
The SCCA ProRally series is a "stage" or "performance" rally series that stretches across the nation. Sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America and televised on SPEED CHANNEL (formerly Speedvision), this form of motorsport is one of the fastest growing racing series in the United States. Competitors race flat out against the clock for hundreds of miles on a course of backroads closed to public usage. A co-driver or navigator tells the driver where every jump, dangerous turn or other obstacle is to the hundredth of a mile.
Watch for the televised Sno*Drift ProRally on SPEED CHANNEL in February.
For information on the SCCA ProRally series, check: http://www.sccaprorally.org
For information on the Sno*Drift ProRally, go to: http://www.sno-drift.org
Burmeister Rallysport can be reached at: (313)792-2397 or e-mail Eric Burmeister at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mazda Competition Parts can be reached at: http://www.mazdamotorsports.com
Sachs Race Engineering can be reached at: http://www.sachs-ag.de/english/motorsports/index.htm
Eibach Springs can be reached at: http://www.eibach.com
KC HiLites/P-sport can be reached at: http://www.p-sport.com/
American Graffiti Graphics can be reached at: http://www.vinyl4all.com