USRC: Team Deva rally program announced

Top Motorsports Talent Forms Team Deva Rally Program LANCASTER, Calif., April 28, 2006 -- Defending Subaru Rim of the World Rally Production GT class winner Dennis Chizma (Las Vegas, Nev.) and motorsports logistics specialist Vanessa ...

Top Motorsports Talent Forms Team Deva Rally Program

LANCASTER, Calif., April 28, 2006 -- Defending Subaru Rim of the World Rally Production GT class winner Dennis Chizma (Las Vegas, Nev.) and motorsports logistics specialist Vanessa Weikart (a native of Germany now living in Coldwater, Mich.) formally announce the creation of Team Deva. Team Deva will focus its years of motorsports experience into a multi-car rally program for competition throughout North America beginning later this year. Chizma, a longtime rally and sports car racing expert, has been named Technical Manager while Weikart, who has handled logistics in motorsports since the mid-1980s, will be Logistics and General Manager of the program. Team Deva will enter a new car in its first major rally, the Laughlin International Rally in Laughlin, Nev., on November 10-12. However, Team Deva will have its first formal participation here in Lancaster, Calif. as it backs Chizma and co-driver Andrew Cushman (Las Vegas) in the No. 165 Team Deva Porsche 964-C4 in the WSRC Production GT class of this weekend's Subaru Rim of the World Rally.

"I have been running my own rally program for years," said Chizma. "We've been very successful doing it that way. However, Vanessa and I began talking when she came to Laughlin with us last year. She got hooked on rally there and wanted to get involved and it all took off. We've made the commitment to do this right. It will be with the same quality Porsche race cars that Motor Sports Unlimited has been running but now, we'll offer that to more drivers. This will be a full-out program. The drivers will only have to worry about driving when they get to the rally."

Combining their two skill sets, Chizma and Weikart have assembled a new team with decades of motorsports experience and countless victories in both rally and sports cars. With such deep roots, experience and exceptional contacts in the racing world, Team Deva looks to meet the standard of North American rally competition.

"Due to my European connections and longstanding relationship with teams, drivers and vendors this rally venture with Dennis seems like a good match and hopefully is destined to be a success," offered Weikart. "I have never been a part of the ownership of a team before. However, I have handled the logistical needs of many and, with Dennis responsible for the technical aspects of the rally team, I am confident that we have the pieces in place to offer a very competitive and well run team."

Chizma's in-depth knowledge of Porsches and their racing potential has made him one of the most respected mechanics in the paddock. Getting his start in 1975, Chizma was a technician for the BF Goodrich off-road team until '77. From '78-'84 he was an engine and transmission technician for SpeedUnlimited and began driving for Triple C Racing. In 1985, he started Motor Sports Unlimited and raced his own operation until 2001 when he began to focus on sports car racing. Most recently, in 2005, Chizma won his class in two of the most prestigious rallies in America-- The Subaru Rim of The World Rally and Ramada Express International Rally-- in his Porsche 964. Beyond dominating the only two rallies he entered, Chizma was also crew chief of the 2005 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class championship-winning Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing team and was named ALMS Mechanic of the Year. His sports car victories as a technician include the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2004), the 12 Hours of Sebring ('05) and the Petit Le Mans ('05) while his rally successes as both a technician and driver are too numerous to count. He is widely recognized as one of the leading Porsche technical experts in the country.

Weikart has a long and successful career in motorsports ranging from Formula 1 to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500. Initially focused on hospitality at her parents' hotel located by the famous Nurburgring race track in Germany, Weikart expanded her participation going on the road working in Formula 1, Group C sports car racing and DTM. She began Vanessa's Hospitality Service in 1986 working in those series exclusively until 1995 when she traveled to the United States and began to focus on American motorsports. Since, she has handled key logistical and hospitality decisions for teams in CART, IRL, ALMS, Grand American and more. She has become one of the most experienced logistics managers in the sport handling the travel, lodging, catering and specialty needs of thousands of race participants and special guests throughout the year, world-wide. Despite this long racing history, this is her first foray into rally.

Team Deva, based in Pahrump, Nev., will be fully operational by the end of the year. At that time they will be prepared to enter Porsche-based race cars in any North American rally. The team is currently talking with potential drivers and marketing partners for the Laughlin international Rally in November as well as the full 2007 season.

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Series Other rally