FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2004
For more information,
Contact: Christopher Richards
Rocket Rally Racing
Vancouver, BC -- Former Canadian Rally Champion Patrick Richard will make his return to SCCA ProRally Championship competition at the SnoDrift ProRally, held January 30th and 31st, in Atlanta, MI. Richard will be driving the Subaru Impreza WRX that he used to capture the 2002 North American Group N championship title, the same car he also successfully campaigned in the World Rally Championship for Production Cars in 2003.
Flat-out driving at maximum speeds on ice and snow-covered closed public roads make the SnoDrift ProRally a tough test of man and machine alike. Richard's most recent outing in pure ice and snow conditions was at the 2003 Rallye Internationale de Quebec, where he scored an outright victory against top drivers from the UK and the SCCA ProRally championship series. That event was won driving the same car he is campaigning this weekend in the internationally recognized Group N class.
"Although we won in Quebec driving a less powerful Group N car, we expect it to be harder to fight for overall victory this time around," commented Richard. American SCCA ProRally rules still permit engines with 40mm turbo restrictors in their Open class cars, which allow more powerful engines than the ones used in internationally recognized rally events. "However, I'm not one to back down from a fight, and I believe that with some luck, a podium or even a top result is certainly possible. We also expect very strong battles in the Group N field."
Already committed as a driver for Subaru Canada in 2004, Richard was keen to supplement that program. "We had been looking at options in the British Rally Championship, as well as in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship. Then this opportunity came up." 2004 will see Richard re-forming Rocket Rally Racing, the successful team he created to capture the 2000 and 2001 North American Production GT titles.
"We very recently struck a deal to acquire this car from Subaru Canada," explained Richard, "and in the last week we have been working flat-out to put a program together for the USA in 2004."
In addition to receiving strong support from OMP, DMS and Globalstar for the 2004 program, Richard has also struck a marketing agreement with the North America Subaru Impreza Owner's Club, NASIOC.com. "With over 44,000 members, this is the single largest Subaru owner's club on the planet," explained Nick Catalfamo, NASIOC.com President. "Patrick has been involved with the club from day one, and as part of this agreement, all of his marketing partners will see significantly increased exposure. We are also looking at a number of promotional programs, which will include Patrick's participation in Internet discussions, as well as offering lucky NASIOC.com members thrill rides at designated SCCA ProRally events across the country."
"NASIOC.com is part of the Subaru culture in North America," explained Christopher Richards, Rocket Rally marketing co-ordinator. "This presents a natural path to drive exposure for our marketing partners, as well as offering added value to the content at NASIOC.com and for its members as a whole." As part of this arrangement, Richard's Impreza will be partially branded in NASIOC.com colours for the SnoDrift ProRally. "I'm hoping that other members of the club will see this as a way to feel more involved in the team."
This weekend's event will be a tough test for Richard, where he will be teamed up with a new co-driver, Canadian Brian Maxwell. This will also mark the first time that Richard will be competing in the American series using "organizer's notes". In the American SCCA ProRally Championship series, organizers have banded together to create a standardized 'organizer note' system, to allow drivers and co-drivers to compete at speed without having to inspect the route beforehand.
"The notes will play a part, but the true key to success in any winter event is tire selection," explained Maxwell. "With the proper tire choices, and a gradual building of our pace, we should have a good fight on our hands."
For additional information regarding Patrick Richard, Rocket Rally Racing, or the SnoDrift ProRally, please visit www.patrickrichard.com. Media and print-ready photos are available upon request.
Rocket Rally Marketing Co-ordinator
+1 604 618 8097