FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2001
For more information,
Contact: Patrick Richard
Rocket Rally Racing
VANCOUVER, BC -- Having tackled the challenging rally roads of the North American continent, Rocket Rally Racing is ready to explore those of a new one: Australia. The team will race Down Under this weekend in the Rally of Melbourne.
The Rally of Melbourne is the fifth, and final, round of the 2001 Australian Rally Championship. The event takes place from August 30 to September 2 on approximately 200 kilometres of closed roads near Melbourne. With the Australian Group N championship, internationally regarded to be highly competitive, still undecided, the team expects the level of competition to be substantially elevated compared to what they are used to at home.
Vancouver-based Rocket Rally Racing will be the first Canadian team in many years to compete internationally. The team, whose driver, Patrick Richard, is the reigning production champion for both the Canadian and American rally championships, chose to run the event in order to gain critical pace note experience for some upcoming International FIA rallies in North America. Rocket Rally's presence at this event also provides a rare opportunity for the rally community to gauge the pace of current North American rallyists against well-known international teams. The Rally of Melbourne entry list includes several FIA Asia-Pacific champions as well as top runners from the Southern Hemisphere rounds of the World Rally Championship.
"While we have had some successes in North America, we have no idea what the speed drivers in the rest of the world are competing at. We don't expect to run anywhere near the front of the pack, as we sometimes do in North America, but we hope that we find we aren't too far behind," says Richard. "This could open up a lot of doors for North American Rallying, and can hopefully start attracting Australian competitors to North America."
Patrick Richard will be re-united with his sister Nathalie Richard as co-driver. Nathalie, who as team manager last season helped the team secure its North American championships, co-drove her brother to a Production GT win (5th overall) at the Rallye International de Charlevoix in November 2000.
Team secures Australian Subaru for event
The team will be driving an immaculate Subaru Impreza WRX STi Version 4 prepared by Melbourne-based RACE WORX, the team of the 2000 FIA Asia-Pacific Formula 2 Rally Champion, Simon Evans. Evans will also be driving a similar Impreza, as he has in previous rounds of the Australian Rally Championship this year.
The arrangement with RACE WORX was secured through Philip Rodgers and Jamie Drummond of Australian-based Drummond Motorsports (DMS). Despite being based in Australia, DMS Suspension has been one of Rocket Rally Racing's supporters since the team's inception in late 1999.
Along with DMS, Rocket Rally's sponsors in North America include Subaru Canada, OMP and SPD Tuning, the North American Prodrive distributor. This year, Patrick Richard has been driving a 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX alongside teammates Tom McGeer and John Paynter as part of the three-car Subaru Canada Rally Team.
Patrick Richard, Rocket Rally Driver
p. (604) 803-6095