Press Release

January 25, 2005
Contact: Eric Burmeister
Burmeister Rallysport
Phone: 313-550-4454

Mazda Rallying 2005--The Zoom is Back!

New Mazda3 Rally Car to campaign Rally America Championship

DETROIT, MICHIGAN -- After taking a sabbatical from most of the rally season in 2004, Burmeister Rallysport announces today that the MazdaSpeed team will be back in 2005 to contest the Rally America Championship. And with a fair bit more "zoom" than in previous years.

"We are moving up to the unlimited two wheel drive class of Group5 for 2005," explained Eric Burmeister, the owner and driver of Burmeister Rallysport. "We will be unveiling a new Mazda3 Rally Car prior to Oregon Trail."

Burmeister, who has taken his Mazda Protegé to class wins in 2002, 2003, and 2004, is ready for the challenge ahead. The team will continue with the trusty Protegé at the first race of the season, the snow and ice covered Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, MI this weekend, running outclassed in Group2 configuration for the race. He's not too worried. "I've finished on the podium in overall 2wd at this race the last 3 years I've ran it. I like ice!"

From there the team goes to Oregon in April with a new car and sights on a new championship. After Oregon is Pennsylvania, followed by the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado. From there they head back east to Maine, and then to Minnesota. They finish up the season with a trip back to Colorado for another rally and then the finale, the Lake Superior Rally in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Details of the new Mazda3 Rally Car as well as the incredible cast of skilled people involved will be made available as the unveiling draws nearer. "We have assembled a team of what I believe are the most capable people in the nation for this project," said Burmeister. "As well, we have documented the engineering and build process for a video presentation.

Co-driving for Burmeister this year will be Dave Shindle, an accomplished co-driver with experience in both the U.S. and Canada. His job as a Jemba reconnaissance specialist for previous rallies gives him an edge with the stage notes used in the Rally America Championship. "I'm real excited to be with the Mazda team," said the Virginia native. "and I'm excited to be competing regularly in the U.S. again."

Steve Sanders, manager of Mazda's in-house motorsport division, MazdaSpeed Motorsports Development, was instrumental in making the project happen. "We are excited to be involved with the new Rally America series," Sanders stated. "We enjoyed helping Eric with his Protegé effort and look forward to seeing him continue to greater heights with the new Mazda3 Rally Car."

The Rally America Championship series is a "stage" or "performance" rally series that stretches across the nation. 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.

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