champ_matt.jpgMatthew Johnson, Rally America PGT champion twice running, will step up to Open class with Team RalliSpec for the 2008 season. Johnson will run all rounds of the Rally America National Championship and vie for entry into the X-Games with the Hankook RalliSpec Rally Team. Subaru rally specialist RalliSpec Ltd.[ www.rallispec.com ], based out of New Jersey, will build and support a new 2007 Subaru WRX STI to debut at the second round of the championship in Missouri. The team believes that all the ingredients are there for success in what is shaping up to be a very competitive 2008 season.

RalliSpec team manager Dave Anton, who claimed the 2006 Rally America Group N driver’s title, is excited about the team’s new direction. “I think this partnership with Matthew is what we all need to step up to the next level. He’s shown himself to be a rising star within the sport and he drives with a level of maturity and consistency that is required to win championships. RalliSpec is thrilled to have the opportunity to put together a top level program for Matthew and Hankook”.

RalliSpec brings a wealth of knowledge accumulated over nine years of involvement with Subarus in rallying. RalliSpec is no stranger to Open class victory, having provided the engine and driveline support which helped Matt Iorio achieve back to back wins in 2006 on his way to claiming the North American Rally Cup.

Johnson, who will be joined again with co-driver Jeremy Wimpey, is enthusiastic about their prospects for 2008. “To say that I’m all fired up about working with RalliSpec and moving to Open class for 2008 would be an understatement, I can’t sit still I’m so excited. Hankook and I choose that we were both ready for Open class competition after another successful season in 2007. [2007 review at www.carolinars.com] Then, before you know it, Dave from RalliSpec stepped in and started filling in the blanks. He’s good like that, always looking ahead.”

The opening round in Atlanta, Michigan will see Johnson swapping cars with Todd Moberly allowing Matthew to maximize his championship opportunities while Moberly makes a potential move toward PGT. However, the remainder of the season will be in a car purpose built by RalliSpec to take maximum advantage of the open class regulations. Despite the challenge of preparing a competitive car from the ground up in only 10 weeks, the team is leaving no bolt unturned in their efforts to find a competitive edge. Sponsor Hankook will provide the latest rally tire technology. [www.hankooktireusa.com] RalliSpec is also working closely with suspension specialists RS&SP who have provided a custom designed suspension for the team.

Before the debut of the new car at 100AW the Hankook RalliSpec Rally Team will announce remaining associate and product sponsors. To follow the team throughout the ’08 season please swing by www.rallispec.com and look for rally information.

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