It’s a strong start to the season for rally car racer Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard, who began the Canadian championship with a second-place finish at the grueling Rallye Perce-Neige in Maniwaki, Quebec over the weekend (Feb. 9).

It’s the second podium finish in a row for Comrie-Picard and co-driver Marc Goldfarb, who also brought their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX into second place two weeks ago at the U.S. season opener.

“Conditions in the deep forest were great. There was more traction than we expected and it’s always fun to drag the tail of the EVO through the snowbanks at this race,” said Comrie-Picard.

The Rallye Perce-Neige Maniwaki is the only true winter rally in the Canadian Rally Championship and is home to some of the longest stages on the continent. The event included a grueling 237 kilometers of fast competitive stages over ice and snow.

“It was a classic Perce Neige where anything can happen and fortunately it didn’t happen to us,” said Comrie-Picard. “There were some great drivers and we had a great time; it’s going to be a very competitive year.”

It was a hard-fought contest at the front of the pack, with Comrie-Picard battling for the lead with defending Canadian champion Antoine L’Estage, in his Hyundai Tiburon, Subaru factory driver Pat Richard and Canadian snow and ice superstar Sylvain Erickson.

Comrie-Picard adopted a conservative strategy for the contest, opting to keep up a competitive pace without taking any unnecessary chances in order to secure maximum points in the early season.

L’Estage pulled into the lead with an aggressive drive during the longest stages of the day, while Erickson suffered an off-road excursion in his Subaru WRX STi that ended his race early. Richard drove fast in his comeback race to make some gains late in the day, but suffered a flat tire that left him in third.

The team’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX RS performed flawlessly over the entire grueling contest, and their Yokohama winter tires gave the team confidence in the event’s icy conditions.

With three Open class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions finishing in the top-five, it’s an indication of a great season that will feature a deep field of competitive top cars, including drivers Jon Nichols and Mathieu L’Estage.

Rally car racing is often described simply as “real cars, real roads, real fast.” The all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over closed-road courses that typically cover more than 150 kilometers of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads. Fans can get up close to the cars in the service areas and catch all the action from specially designated spectator points located at the best spots on the route.

Comrie-Picard and the ACP Rally team are fighting for leading positions in the Canadian, Rally America and North American championships, and for an X Games seat.

The team is currently in second overall in the Canadian, North American and the Rally America Championships, and in good position to secure an invitation for Rally Car Racing at X Games 14 this summer. The team has competed at both previous X Games rally car events, and looks forward to its return in 2008.

Their next contest, the 100 Acre Wood Rally, takes place in southern Missouri in two weeks’ time.

Full coverage of the Canadian championship will air on RDS and TSN. Coverage of the Rally America series airs on the ESPN family of channels.

THANKS TO: Mitsubishi Canada (www.mitsubishi-motors.ca), Slowboy Racing (www.slowboyracing.com), Yokohama Canada (www.yokohama.ca), First Commonwealth Bank (www.fcbanking.com), Motul USA (www.motulusa.com), Engine Pro (www.enginepro.com), Innovate Motorsports (www.tuneyourengine.com), Pagid North America (www.pagidusa.com), Vibrant Performance (www.vibrantperformance.com), Sparco (www.sparcousa.com), Piloti (www.piloti.com), and FixAuto Blainville and the Losier family.

For more information and video highlights, visit: www.acprally.com To arrange interviews or find out more, contact Team Manger Jen Horsey at j-horsey(at)rogers(dot)com. Find us on YouTube or Facebook under ACP Rally.

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