ProRally: Subaru, Air Force withdraw from 2004 competition

Subaru, Air Force Reserve, withdraw from SCCA Rally competition in 2004. TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 16, 2004) -- Subaru of America, Inc., and the Air Force Reserve have both announced that each will withdraw its team efforts from the SCCA ProRally ...

Subaru, Air Force Reserve, withdraw from SCCA Rally competition in 2004.

TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 16, 2004) -- Subaru of America, Inc., and the Air Force Reserve have both announced that each will withdraw its team efforts from the SCCA ProRally Championship competition.

Though not competing in 2004, both groups indicated their continued involvement in SCCA Performance Rally.

"We came to this decision based primarily on the lack of manufacturer competition within the Open Class category for 2004," said Tim Bennett, director of marketing programs, Subaru of America, Inc. "Subaru will remain the largest official contingency sponsor of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship and contribute to the SCCA Partnership Bonus Program, exhibiting our commitment to facilitating the growth of rallying in the US."

Even though a factory team will not be present this season, Subaru's involvement with SCCA Performance Rally, monetarily and support-based, will increase. Total potential payouts through the Subaru Championship Cup could exceed $102,000 and the contingency programs have been extended to cover the Production GT class along with some SCCA ClubRally events. Also, Subaru will provide a Subaru Rally Parts Support Truck on-site at most ProRally events to offer competitors access to parts.

In a separate statement, the Air Force Reserve announced the suspension of its participation in the ProRally Championship.

"This was a tough decision because we got to know some fantastic people through our association with ProRally," said Lt. Col. Jerry Herbel, chief, Advertising and Information Systems Division for the Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service. "I especially want to thank Tim O'Neil and Alex Gelsomino for all their efforts on our behalf. They truly went "Above and Beyond" for us, and we are grateful.

"Unfortunately, the marketing situation in the series has changed drastically in the last few months," said Herbel. "Although we made every effort to stay involved, it eventually became clear that it will be impossible for us to reach our marketing goals next year and we can't afford to make a large investment under those circumstances," he said.

Like Subaru of America, Inc., the Air Force Reserve will continue to honor its 2004 commitment to the SCCA ProRally Partnership Program, which was developed to support ProRally series organizers.

"The SCCA wants to thank Subaru and the Air Force Reserve for their willingness to continue support of the ProRally Championship and its organizers," said Steve Johnson, SCCA President and CEO. "I am extremely pleased that both companies chose to continue to support the championship through the ProRally Partnership Program which provides direct assistance to the organizers who make the events possible. I'm also excited for the competitive opportunity this gives the privateer efforts in 2004. The level of competition will be extremely high this season, and that is what SCCA is all about."

The 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship is primed and ready to go with almost 60 entries, including three 2003 champions, on the docket for Sno*Drift, Round One of the SCCA ProRally Championship. Based in Atlanta, Mich., the event is set for Jan. 30-31. For more information about SCCA Performance Rally and the SCCA ProRally Championship, visit our website at www.scca.com.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Alex Gelsomino , Tim O'Neil , Steve Johnson