lspr07_crsss.jpgThe Carolina RallySport team of driver Matthew Johnson and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey repeated as Rally America Production GT National Champions with a dominating class win at the Lake Superior Rally in Michigan. Held on October 26 and 27 on the scenic upper peninsula of Michigan, the “oldest, meanest, and toughest” round of the Rally America series is a true challenge to rally competitors and their machinery. Known for abrupt weather changes, the rally can feature sun, rain, fog, and even snow-often on the same weekend. Fortunately the weather was relatively mild this year, but there were still plenty of other drama.

Going into the rally, the pressure was firmly on Johnson’s shoulders. The Carolina RallySport team trailed fellow Subaru driver Patrick Moro and his co-driver Mike Rossey; nothing short of victory and a third place or lower finish for Moro would allow Johnson and Wimpey to emerge with the championship.

Pressure was eased in one respect when, on the second stage of the event, Moro and Rossey left the road and their WRX landed in a swamp. But it was far from smooth going for Johnson and Wimpey, as some rough event stages caused their transmission to lose third gear, and they had to run the final stage of the evening, all seventeen miles of Passmore, without that crucial gear.

Once again demonstrating true rally sportsmanship, championship adversary Patrick Moro provided the Carolina RallySport team with a spare gearbox, and crew members John Groo and Brian Burroughs stayed up until 5:00am to make sure repairs were successfully completed.

The second day saw Johnson and Wimpey not place a wheel wrong, as they kept a strong pace which resulted in fourth place overall and the coveted Production GT victory.

Johnson was understandably ecstatic about winning the Rally America Production GT National Championship for the second consecutive year. “It was a season of extreme highs and lows, with very little in between. We won at Sno*Drift, but then had a massive crash at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood. I had to call in all the favors I could to get a car on the trailer and headed to Oregon, where the gearbox let us down. We were able win Olympus and Susquehannock Trail, but then lost championship ground when I stepped into an Open Class car at the New England Forest Rally to try and qualify for the X Games. We rolled again at Ojibwe, but then closed out the year with wins at Colorado and Lake Superior.”

Johnson added, “It was a great year, competing against Pat Moro and Mike Rossey, who posted consistent results in the #59 WRX, as well as Stephan Verdier and Scott Crouch in the Flatirons Tuning Subaru #429. We pushed each other to the limit.”

Plans for the Carolina RallySport 2008 rally season are being finalized, and will be announced soon.

About the team:
Matthew Johnson is an 8-year veteran of rally racing. His career began in a Group 2 Volkswagen Golf in 2000. He is currently a part-time automotive consultant, while fully focused on his rally career. Jeremy Wimpey started rallying five years ago, and has worked with many drivers, including co-driving for his twin brother, Josh. Jeremy is currently working on a PhD in Forestry at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

About the car:
The Carolina RallySport Subaru WRX runs in the Rally America Production GT class. Under class rules, the car is virtually stock, and only minimal modifications are allowed. It has approximately 227 horsepower, and a standard 5-speed transmission.

For more information on rallying, visit the Rally America website at www.Rally-America.com.

Carolina RallySport would like to thank the following sponsors for their support:

Hankook Tire Company – www.hankooktireusa.com – Providing a full line of passenger car and truck tires, as well as highly competitive rally tires and racing slicks for motorsports.
http://www.hankooktireusa.com/motorsports.asp

Subaru- www.Subaru.com – Subaru offers contingency support for all new-model Subaru rally cars, and attends events with a huge support truck full of spare parts to keep Subaru drivers going. Thank you Subaru!

Elite Performance – www.elitepro1.com – ElitePro offers a large catalog of aftermarket performance parts for your car. Check them out the next time you’re ready to upgrade or replace parts on your car! Elite Performance provided much needed parts to rebuild the new rally car. Thank you Andrew and Dan at Elite Performance for all your hard work!

RalliSpec – http://www.rallispec.com – RalliSpec is the company of frequent rally competitor Dave Anton. His company provides a selection of rally parts and supplies for your Subaru, and is the North American RS&SP suspension dealer. Specializing in Subarus, RalliSpec has been an integral piece of keeping the Carolina RallySport WRX out on the stages.

PIAA – Professional lighting products available at http://www.piaa.com/

Photo © 2007, Lorne Trezise, www.frozenmotionphotos.com

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