Contact: Paul Westwick|
Tel: (604) 707-3305
|Date: May 16, 2003|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Edson, Alta., Canada - Only one North American regularly competes in the World Rally Championship. For Canadian champion Patrick Richard who has already raced this season in Sweden, Mexico, New Zealand and last Sunday in Argentina, the 20th annual Makita Bighorn Rally here in Edson will be a homecoming.
The Vancouver rally star who drives for Team Subaru has one victory in the 2003 Canadian Rally Championship presented by Yokohama, but is in a tie for second place in series points. Quebec’s Antoine L’Estage leads the points standings for Hyundai, while Mitsubishi driver Sylvain Erickson is tied with Richard. All three will take the start at 6PM on Saturday at Vision Park in Edson.
Team Subaru has a brand new car for Richard. It’s the new 300hp Impreza WRX STi which won’t go on sale in dealer showrooms until June 1st. The first car arrived at rally team headquarters in Toronto from Japan just three weeks ago and the mechanics have been working around the clock to get the street machine ready to race. Preparation finished late Wednesday night when the trailer had to leave for Alberta. The car has had no testing, but the team is hopeful.
"It’s a pretty potent package right out of the showroom. We’ve added a rollcage and installed a rally suspension, but that’s about it. With my regular Group N car on it’s way to Cyprus for the next WRC round and our crew chief in Argentina until this week, they had to work really hard to get a competive ride prepared for Bighorn. We’re hoping for a podium finish and the new car will be upgraded as the season progresses", explained Richard.
As a contingency plan, Rally Team Subaru has also entered 5-time Canadian champion Tom McGeer with his proven 2002 WRX. Mitsubishi will have two strong teams in contention for victory: Gatineau, Quebec’s Sylvain Erickson and Andrew Comrie-Picard. Comrie-Picard is originally from Edmonton, but is now residing in New York. He finished third in the Championship last year behind Richard and Erickson, has lead events, but has yet to post his first victory. He learned to drive on these roads, so should have a good shot at victory.
The 2-day 560-km course will finish at 8:30PM Sunday.
For further information www.bighornrally.com