Rally driver ACP second in U.S. points race

SALEM, Missouri (Feb. 26, 2008) -- Rally car racer Andrew "ACP" Comrie-Picard is in a tight points battle for the U.S. championship lead after a hard-fought contest at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood this past weekend in southern Missouri.

In the challenging, two-day rally that saw many other top contenders fail to cross the finish line, Comrie-Picard and co-driver Marc Goldfarb battled tough conditions and a failing transmission to bring their Slowboy Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX across the finish line in fourth-place overall.

"We did a ridiculous amount of damage to the car," said Comrie-Picard. "We've got a lot of work to do between now and the next round."

The result puts them just three points off the championship lead -- behind the factory-backed Ken Block, of Subaru Rally Team USA.

Block took the early lead at this contest, defending a 30-second advantage to the finish line. His teammate Travis Pastrana finished second, while Matthew Johnson finished third.

Comrie-Picard battled Johnson hard throughout the final stages of Day 2 for the third-place position. But, after forth gear failed early in the rally, Comrie-Picard said it was everything he could do to keep his rally car on the pace.

"Snow and ice rallies are tough on transmissions, and ours just couldn't take three in a row," said Comrie-Picard. "We lost just a little too much time driving around the problem to make the top three."

Unseasonably icy weather in southern Missouri made for unpredictable conditions on the course. Many teams came prepared for the fast and flowing gravel roads that are typical of this early spring event, but a two-day ice storm turned the course slick with ice.

Comrie-Picard ended Day 1 in sixth place, pulling into the final stop of the night on a tow rope after puncturing the car's radiator in a spin. It was Johnson who came to the team's aid to help them to finish on the first day.

"Matt's a good guy to race, and we're grateful for the help," said Comrie-Picard. "We owe that guy a favor and we'll be there whenever he needs us."

By Day 2, the team clawed their way back to fourth overall and remain in the hunt for the championship heading into the next round.

Comrie-Picard and Goldfarb began the Canadian championship with a second-place finish at the Canadian season opener -- the Rallye Perce-Neige in Maniwaki, Quebec -- at the start of the month. They also finished second overall at the first U.S. round, Sno*Drift, in January.

The team's Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX RS took a battering but performed very well over the grueling contest, and their Yokohama winter tires gave the team confidence in the event's icy conditions.

Rally car racing is often described simply as "real cars, real roads, real fast." The all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over closed-road courses that typically cover more than 150 kilometers of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads. Fans can get up close to the cars in the service areas and catch all the action from specially designated spectator points located at the best spots on the route.

Comrie-Picard and Slowboy Racing are currently in second overall in the Canadian, North American and Rally America Championships, and in good position to secure an invitation for Rally Car Racing at X Games 14 this summer. The team has competed at both previous X Games rally car events, and looks forward to its return in 2008.

Their next contest, the Olympus Rally, takes place in Olympia, Washington, April 19 -20.

-credit: www.acprally.com