FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2004
For more information,
Contact: Christopher Richards
Rocket Rally Racing
Atlanta, Michigan -- Canadian rally driver Patrick Richard scored a convincing overall victory at the SnoDrift Rally, the first round of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship, held this past weekend near Atlanta, MI, USA. Driving a Subaru Impreza WRX, Richard and co-driver Brian Maxwell held off strong challenges from the top competitors in the series to cruise to Richard's first overall win in the American-based championship.
"It's a great feeling to have my first American win under my belt," explained Richard. Having won events in Canada and Europe, and also at the International level, Richard has won many stages in the American championship but never an event overall. "Taking this first win and doing it in a Group N car is all the more satisfying. I haven't been to a rally in the United States in almost 2 years, so it is a great way to come back."
With ideal winter conditions on hand, the ice and snow covered public roads of northern Michigan created a perfect playground for some of North America's best rally drivers. Entries in the event included former Subaru works driver Ramana Lagemann, SCCA ProRally winner Seamus Burke, and Canadian championship contender Andrew Comrie Pricard. With studded tires not permitted in American rally events, this presented the ideal backdrop for a demonstration of flat out drifting on icy forest roads.
"We drove a smart event," commented co-driver Brian Maxwell. "We never let anyone get very far ahead of us, and we pushed hard in one or two places to establish ourselves as the overall leaders. After that, we really cruised to the finish."
Richard's outright victory in this year's event marks the first time in many years that a car entered in the Group N class has captured overall victory in an American SCCA ProRally event. American rally regulations permit vehicles to run in the Open class, with 40mm turbo restrictors, which make them more powerful than the internationally recognized Group N cars.
The only incident of the rally for the Canadian pair was on the fifth stage of the event, where they made heavy contact with the Subaru of Ramana Lagemann. "Ramana was off in the snowbank on the right and we couldn't avoid him," explained Richard. "We thought there was a lot of damage to our car, but when we stopped all we could find was that the alignment was way out and the wing mirror was gone."
This was the second time in 3 years that the event has been dominated by Canadians, with the win in 2002 going to Canadian rally legends Frank and Dan Sprongl.
"All of my major rally 'firsts' have been on snow and ice," realized Richard. "My first ever rally, the first Canadian national win, the first International outright victory, my first WRC points, and now my first American outright victory, have all been on snow and ice."
Richard's success puts him at the top of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship standings, and marks the first time he has held that position.
"Our next outing in the SCCA ProRally championship really depends on our sponsorship position," explained marketing coordinator Christopher Richards. "We have received strong support from Patrick's personal sponsors, OMP, DMS, and Globalstar, and we have brought two new product partners on board, NASIOC.com and MOTUL. We only need one major partner now to commit to the entire season."
The SCCA ProRally Championship, and the SnoDrift ProRally, is televised internationally on the Speed Channel. Check your local listings for details.
For print ready media photos, and more information, contact:
Rocket Rally Marketing Co-ordinator
+1 604 618 8097