Press Release

January 22, 2003
Contact: Eric Burmeister
Burmeister Rallysport
Phone: 313-792-2397

MAZDASPEED Rally Team USA--More Zoom--2003 Preview!

DETROIT, MICHIGAN -- As the SCCA ProRally series gears up for the 2003 season, MAZDASPEED Rally Team USA announces its intentions to again pursue the Group 2 title and Woodner Cup for overall two-wheel-drive honors. 2002 was a milestone year for the young team. 2 wins, 1 second, 3 thirds, 1 fourth and only one DNF (faulty wheel castings) earned a strong second place finish in the driver's, co-driver's, and manufacturer's championships for Group 2. The season was a hard fought battle between Eric Burmeister's Mazda Protege and Lauchlin O'Sullivan's Mitsubishi Lancer. The points tipped the scales to Mitsubishi's side, but the outlook...and the equipment...look much different for 2003.

The Group 2 (two-wheel-drive, 2-liter, normally aspirated) manufacturer's title will see a new face this year as Dodge has decided to campaign the series in their new Neon SXT. Said MAZDASPEED Rally Team's principal and driver, Eric Burmeister, "We are very happy to welcome Dodge to the Championship and look forward to a competitive season with them."

On to the equipment end... "Our car has undergone some extensive changes in the 'zoom-zoom' department," said Burmeister. The 2003 spec rally Protege sees a new engine developed by Sunbelt Performance Engines of Sugar Hill, GA. Sunbelt provided the engines for all the Protege SPEED Channel World Challenge cars and decided to take on a Group 2 spec mill for Mazda's rally effort. This should prove to be a major improvement over the basically production class engine used throughout 2002. Steve Sanders, manager of MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, and Jim Thompson, owner of Sunbelt Performance Engines, played integral roles in bringing the Protege up to proper Group 2 specs. Other changes include new suspension, four-pot brakes and various other improvements.

Switching seats... One change to the team is that Eric Adams of Pittsboro, NC will no longer be Burmeister's right-hand man. Adams poured himself into the role of co-driver last year and did an excellent job. "We grew together as individuals and as a team and grasped this stage note thing handily. I feel extremely safe with Eric and appreciate his outlook as well as his great sense of humor," explained Burmeister. Filling the role of co-driver for Sno*Drift will be Ole Holter from Long Beach, CA.

After Sno*Drift, Cindy Krolikowski has agreed to co-drive for the rest of the season. Cindy and her husband, Henry, have been mainstays in the sport of American rallying for many years. Cindy is a dedicated professional who has ridden with the likes of Paul Choinere, John Buffum, and, of course, Henry, who has always been a rally hero of Burmeister's. She enjoyed being in the Mazda at Maine last year and is looking forward to a full season with the team.

The remainder of the team/crew remains the same with Tom Southworth, Brian Burroughs, Jon Butts, and Art Burmeister providing support and skill to keep the wheels turning.

The schedule... The MAZDASPEED Rally Team intends on competing on the entire national schedule. The season gets started off on January 24 with the treacherous ice of the Sno*Drift ProRally in Michigan. The season then goes on brief hiatus until early May when the teams travel to southern California for the Rim of the World. From there the series travels east to Pennsylvania, before going back west to Oregon. Then it is Maine, Minnesota, and Washington before finally returning to Michigan for the Lake Superior ProRally in October. It is a tight schedule that requires a flexible and versatile team, knowledge of the series, and a strong backbone of hardware to stand up to the rigors of the sport. MAZDASPEED Rally Team feels it is prepared.

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, 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 back roads closed to public usage. A co-driver or navigator describes the road in tremendous detail to the driver via an intercom system in the helmets.

For information on the SCCA ProRally series, check:

Burmeister Rallysport can be reached at: (313)337-1675 or
e-mail Eric Burmeister at:

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