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Top Rally Teams Descend On Rally In The 100 Acre Wood

Round two of the 2012 Rally America National Championship takes place in the majestic Ozark foothills of the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood on February 24-25th in Salem, MO. Up to 70 of the top national and international rally competitors will challenge the fast, hard-packed dirt roads following a very slippery opening round at Michigan’s Sno*Drift Rally in January.

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Photo: Ben Pottinger / DirtyImpreza.com

The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood promises more great battles across all car classes. The roads are fast, tight and twisty and the conditions are extremely variable, creating an excellent playing ground for teams to compete for National Championship points.

Subaru Rally Team USA and 2011 Rally America National Champions, David Higgins and Craig Drew, got off to a great start winning the season opener to lead the Series over the Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team Canadian duo of Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard. At last year’s Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, L’Estage and Richard secured an important overall win, and in the process beat their Subaru Rally Team USA rivals.

“I’m really looking forward to 100 Acre Wood,” said L’Estage. “I love these fast roads! The competition will be tough, but I’m going there to win!”

Both L’Estage and Higgins will need to pay close attention to a slew of new talent entering the fray who could play spoiler to their Rally America National Championship dreams.

A powerful new entry, Krzysztof Holowczyc (pronounced Kristoff Holovich) of Olsztyn, Poland, will join the Art Logistics Racing Team with co-driver Maciej Wislawski in a 2006 Mitsubishi EVO IX for his American debut. Holowczyc brings a deep racing resume having won three Polish Rally Championships, 1997 European Championship title and has placed as high as 6th overall at a World Rally Championship event. This year Holowczyc drove a factory BMW X-Raid in the Dakar Rally to place 10th overall.

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Photo: Ben Pottinger / DirtyImpreza.com

Canadian Rally Championship (CRC) regulars, Leonid Urlichich and Carl Williamson, made a splash in their Sno*Drift debut proving that they are podium contenders on the American circuit. Urlichich is carrying momentum off his best CRC ever after making 7 podiums in 8 events and a Tall Pines overall victory last November. The team is now challenging for the Rally America National Championship crown and looks to improve their Sno*Drift standings and place even more pressure on other top-tier teams.

The competition in the Super Production (SP) class promises to be much tighter on Missouri’s fast gravel than on the treacherous frozen stages in Michigan last month. Travis Hanson and Terry Hanson won this class at Sno*Drift in dominant fashion with a 15-minute lead over second place. Hanson is expected to enter the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood to continue his defense of his 2011 Super Production title following significant engine repairs that threatened to force his exit from Sno*Drift.

Hanson will face a contingent of SP top talent. Ex-factory Mitsubishi Rally Team driver, Lauchlin O’Sullivan with co-driver Scott Putnam switched back to a 2003 Mitsubishi EVO at the beginning of the year. Though unfamiliar with his ride he sits second in class and within striking distance of assuming the SP lead early in the season.

In the National Two-Wheel Drive class, fan favorites Chris Duplessis and Karl Atkinson in their 2011 Ford Fiesta R2 seek to build upon their class lead after an impressive Sno*Drift outing where they finished 15 minutes ahead of the Scion xD Rally Team of Andrew Comrie-Picard and Jeremy Wimpey. Duplessis is always favored to win, but Comrie-Picard displayed a special tenacity coming back from fifth in class to a 2nd place finish.

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Photo: Ben Pottinger / DirtyImpreza.com

The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood will begin at 12:00pm on Friday, February 24, with a Parc Expose. Fans can attend the Parc Expose to seek autographs and pick up spectator information before heading to various spots in the woods to watch the exciting rally action.

Another Parc Expose will kick off the action on Saturday, February 25th in downtown Salem at the intersection of 4th & Main Street at 8:00am. Two Super Special stages will take place that day at the Potosi Lions’ Park beginning at 2:40pm. All Parcs Expose and race viewing are free to attend.

Fans who cannot attend in person can catch some live event streaming and video recaps, as well as regularly-updated stage times and results, at Rally-America.com.

For a complete schedule of the event, please visit Rally-America.com. A spectator guide with driving instructions to viewing areas will be available on the website soon.

The 2012 Rally America National Championship is proudly supported by VP Racing Fuels - the Official Fuel of Rally America, Exedy Racing Clutches, Hawk Performance Brakes, ParkNBlend and RECARO seats.

About Rally America:
Based in Williston, VT, Rally America, Inc. sanctions the Rally America National Championship, the premier performance rally series in the United States. In 2012, Rally America will be conducting six National Championship events at venues across the country, from Seattle, Washington to Newry, Maine. Rally America competitors reach speeds of well over 100 mph in modified street cars on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt or snow. More information about the Rally America National Championship and the sport of rally can be found at http://www.rally-america.com.

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