USRC: New York Rally round one preview

FIRST USAC-SANCTIONED RALLY OF SEASON COMES THIS WEEKEND IN NEW YORK STATE INDIANAPOLIS -- The first of six USAC-sanctioned rally races is scheduled for this Friday and Saturday with the Rally New York USA in Monticello, N.Y., part of...

FIRST USAC-SANCTIONED RALLY OF SEASON COMES THIS WEEKEND IN NEW YORK STATE

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first of six USAC-sanctioned rally races is scheduled for this Friday and Saturday with the Rally New York USA in Monticello, N.Y., part of America's premier rally championship, the U.S. Rally Championship.

Nearly 50 cars are expected to take the starter's flag when drivers from three continents and over 15 countries try to tame the 16-stage, 427-mile course that winds through the Catskill Mountains in eastern New York state. The event starts Friday in Monticello and snakes its way through the mountain range on paved-only roads (due to damage concerns on dirt roads) sporting gentle bends rather than switchbacks, with the finish coming Saturday night in nearby Liberty, N.Y.

The tests are connected by road sections -- called "transit zones" -- in which competitors must follow all speed limit and other traffic regulations. There will also be breaks for service, including refueling and changing tires.

The all-paved rally facet is relatively new to U.S. rally racing but a formality in Ireland, which has produced some of the event's highest finishing drivers in the past.

One of the favorites heading into this weekend's action is Irish driver Tom Lawless, the 2005 U.S. Rally champion who triumphed three times -- including in the International Rally New York -- en route to last year's title. Lawless, who now resides in Yonkers, N.Y., will driver a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo8, with a co-driver to be announced.

Others seeking success in the overall event include Sara Gardescu (USA) and Emilio Arce (Argentina), who looks to duplicate the stock class win he achieved in the International Rally New York '05, and Irish driver Seamus Burke, who was runner-up in the 2005 Eastern States Rally Championship with wins in the Rally New York and Sandblast Rally (South Carolina).

Rally New York, Ltd. is the promoter of Rally New York USA and International Rally New York, two of the events being held in the 2006 United States Rally Championship. The U.S. Rally Championship consists of Federation Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA) internationally listed events, sanctioned by USAC and presented by the National Auto Sport Association.

USAC has been involved in rally racing since 2003 and sanctions events in New York and Washington states as well as Tennessee, Nevada and California.

More information on the event and championship are available at www.rallynewyork.com and www.usrallychampionship.com. More information on USAC is available at www.usacracing.com, on NASA at www.nasarallysport.com and on FIA at www.fia.com.

- USAC -

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Series RALLY