With an international program for the 2004 rally season OMV is also implementing its growth strategy in sport sponsoring. The key points: The entry of three cars in the Production World Rally Championships (P-WRC), announcement of a competition for young drivers, and primary sponsorship of the WM rally in Germany, which will also bear the OMV name.

OMV CEO Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer: "By sponsoring a team, a competition for young drivers, and an important rally, we will play an important role in establishing a strong basis for a successful 2004 rally season. This represents further steps to translate our slogan "Move & More" into action."

A strong, international OMV World Rally Team

Two cars already have world-class drivers: the Austrian Manfred Stohl, the Group N overall World Championship winner in 2000 and the Finnish national Group N champion in 2000, Jani Paasonen, will compete in the 2004 Production World Rally Championship, each in a Mitsubishi Evo VII. Both of these drivers already have a number of successful World Championship results to their credit: for example, the recent performance of OMV driver Manfred Stohl in the UK that brought him two World Championship points. The third driver will be recruited from the competition for young drivers and will go to the pole in the World Championships in a Mitsubishi Evo VI.

With three cars the OMV World Rally Team will then account for at least 10 percent of the competitors in the 2004 P-WRC, since the number of participants is limited to 30.

OMV competition for young drivers

The OMV World Rally Team will give young rally drivers a chance to participate in the entire 2004 Production World Rally Championships in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI. The competition is open to rally drivers from all countries of the world who were born in 1980 or later and have a valid rally license. From the applications received, 10 drivers will be chosen to take part in a final qualifying race in Austria. This decision will be announced before Christmas. As of today, information and application forms can be downloaded directly from the OMV portal, www.omv.com - the last day for the submission of applications is December 14, 2003.

Main sponsor of the OMV ADAC Rally in Germany

As an ideal enhancement of its international sponsorship of a team and opportunities for young drivers, OMV is also going to be the chief sponsor of the "OMV ADAC Rally Germany," which will take place on August 20-22, 2004. Cooperation between OMV and ADAC, the organizer of this WRC event in Germany, was agreed upon a few days ago. ADAC's Sport President Hermann Tomczyk welcomed the new partnership with these words, "As the main sponsor for our World Championship event, we have found in OMV an internationally active group with high ambitions in the world of rally sport. We are very pleased to be able to join forces with this well-known and growing international player."

International starts of the OMV World Rally Team

According to the P-WRC regulations, drivers must register and compete for points in six out of seven rally events. In keeping with this, Manfred Stohl and Jani Paasonen will compete in the WRC races in Sweden (February 6-8, 2004), Mexico (March 12-14, 2004), New Zealand (April 16-18, 2004), Argentina (July 16-18, 2004), Finland (August 6-8, 2004) and Australia (November 12-14, 2004). The new OMV young driver will go to the pole in Corsica (October 15-17, 2004) instead of Mexico.

In addition the OMV drivers Stohl and Paasonen will also compete in national rally events in countries of the OMV market. Starts in 2004 are planned in Austria, Slovakia and Germany.