RAmer: Carolina RallySport Ojibwe Forests preview

Carolina RallySport Returns to PGT Championship at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Minnesota Despite the loss of Production GT points, Matthew Johnson runs strong Open class bid to qualify for X Games 13 at the New England Forest Rally in...

Carolina RallySport Returns to PGT Championship at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Minnesota

Despite the loss of Production GT points, Matthew Johnson runs strong Open class bid to qualify for X Games 13 at the New England Forest Rally in July

Apex, NC (August 22, 2007) - The Carolina RS team of driver Matthew Johnson and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey took a one-event break from their 2007 Production GT championship campaign in a last-ditch effort to qualify for X Games 13. The New England Forest Rally, based in Bethel, Maine, took place on July 13 and 14. The top finishing team that had not already qualified for X Games would be extended an invitation to participate in the world's top showcase of extreme sports. Johnson and Wimpey parked their Production GT class championship contending Hankook Tire Subaru in favor of an Open class Subaru for the rally, in the hopes that the higher performance Open class car would increase their chances of a better overall finish.

An excellent seventh place overall was the result, but it was not enough as talented Canadian driver Antoine L'Estage won the coveted trip to Los Angeles with a spirited drive to second overall.

It was Johnson's first rally in an Open class car, and he was philosophical about the result. "Naturally I'm disappointed that I was not able to participate in X Games," said Johnson. "I knew going into the event that Antoine would be tough competition, and his years of Open class experience definitely paid dividends. X Games concerns aside, this was a hugely successful event for us. We proved we have the speed to make the jump into Open class, we brought the car home in good condition, and we had an absolute blast in the process."

The time in the Open class car was particularly valuable, as Johnson intends to challenge for the 2008 Rally America championship in an Open class car.

In the meantime, the Ojibwe Forests Rally will see Johnson and Wimpey return to their familiar Hankook Tire Production GT Subaru WRX in an effort to make up lost ground in the Production GT season championship. Patrick Moro, of Dublin, Ohio, leads the championship with 81 points. Despite missing out on possible class points from the New England Forest Rally, Johnson is tied for second in the championship with speedy Californian Stephan Verdier at 68 points.

The Ojibwe Forests Rally will be based in Bemidji, Minnesota on August 24 and 25. An excellent field of 45 of the top drivers in North America will do battle over the twisty, sandy roads of the northern Minnesota forests. They are roads that the Carolina RallySport team loves, and they are excited about resuming the championship hunt this weekend.

-credit: Carolina RallySport

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Matthew Johnson , Antoine L'Estage , Jeremy Wimpey , Stephan Verdier