FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2003
Contact: Eric Burmeister
Palmdale, CALIFORNIA -- The MAZDASPEED Rally Team USA survived the 20th annual running of the Rim of the World rally in Palmdale, California this week. The event was punctuated by uncharacteristic horizontal rain and wind that turned the tight mountain roads into a quagmire of clay, mud, and sand as they wound through the high desert northeast of Los Angeles.
The team's co-driver, Cindy Krolikowski was forced to cancel when her mother passed away during the week before the rally. Co-driving veteran Joe Andreini of Grosse Pointe, Michigan filled in at the last minute to read the notes for driver Eric Burmeister. "We all offer our sincerest sympathies to Cindy and her family," said Burmeister.
Burmeister and Andreini suffered delays on the first and second stages due to a broken power steering line, a problem that would keep resurfacing throughout the rally despite several attempts to fix it. These delays put the team 15 minutes back on the first day. "The fog up there was thick enough to chew," quipped Eric. "When Joe would call a left I would just look at the left edge of the windshield for the weeds just in front of the bumper, and when he called a right, I looked for weeds on that side."
The team didn't fare much better on the second day as an overheating engine and flat tires on caused another 25 minutes of delays. "The fan shroud melted right off the radiator after the mud packed in there," explained Burmeister. On the 8th stage, the team suffered 2 flat tires on the left side and had just one spare. They changed the front and tried to get going again, but the deep mud would not let them climb the next hill. After trying to stay out of the rest of the field's path and making several attempts to get under way, the pair were finally able to back up the 200 yards needed to get a run at the hill once the rest of the field had gone by on this narrow path. They traveled the remaining 7 stage miles and 6 transit miles on the rear rim to get back to service where they were informed rally officials that the remainder of the rally was cancelled due to impassable conditions.
The team was the last of four remaining Group 2 entrants at the end, and by finishing they provided damage control on the points situation. This uncharacteristic end to an uncharacteristic rally sees the team in second place, 10 points behind the Dodge Neon team of Chris Whiteman and Mike Paulin.
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: www.scca.com
MAZDASPEED Rally Team USA/Burmeister Rallysport can be reached at: (313)337-1675 or
e-mail Eric Burmeister at: email@example.com