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Rally driver Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard took a second-place finish at Round 2 of the Canadian Rally Championship over the weekend and is now set to return to U.S. competition in Pennsylvania in a few days.

Comrie-Picard and co-driver Robbie Durant took their new Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X to the Rocky Mountain Rally, based in Calgary, Alberta, for the high-speed May 29-30 event.

“It was an intense two days of competition, especially with the gravel debut of the new car” said Comrie-Picard. “The 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a strong platform and we’re working to improve its performance with every event. The Evo X will be more and more competitive through the year.”

The new car is under development this season in Canada, while the team continues its aggressive campaign in their 2007 NOS Energy Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX south of the border.

In addition to the rally, the team welcomed key partners, including a number of local Yokohama Tire dealers, for ride-along sessions the day before the event – giving their supporters the ride of a lifetime on a gravel course east of Calgary.

Special thanks to Calgary’s Platinum Mitsubishi for hosting the team at the dealership during the contest.

The result brings the team into third overall in the Canadian championship. Subaru Rally Team Canada driver Pat Richard and Rockstar Energy’s Antoine L’Estage are tied for the lead – with one win and one DNF apiece after the opening two rounds.

“We had some luck on our side this weekend that allowed us to podium despite some inevitable teething trouble with the new car,” said Comrie-Picard. “It was an excellent learning event for us and now we know what we’ll be working on before the next Canadian round.”

Meanwhile, Comrie-Picard is narrowly in third-place overall after five rounds in the Rally America championship, behind Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana and Rockstar Energy’s Tanner Foust.

“The Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally is close to home for us and we know it well,” said Comrie-Picard. “We’re looking forward to resuming our US championship campaign – as well as facing off against some series newcomers.”

The event is expected to feature the American rally debut of Swedish World Rally competitors Patrik Sandell and Emil Axelsson, and Freestyle motocross champion Brian Deegan — winner of 11 X Games medals.

The Susquehannock Trail event has long been known as one of the most demanding events on the U.S. calendar. The 2009 running of the contest features a return to the popular two-day format, with a spectator-friendly daylight schedule and super special stages on each day.

Teams will take on over 100 miles of competitive stages this coming weekend (June 5-6) on a tricky course that’s fast-paced, yet technical. Narrow but very fast roads, with the potential for slick mud if wet, translate to plenty of challenges for competitors.

Rally car racing is considered the extreme sport of automobile racing and is often described simply as “real cars, real roads, real fast.” This all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over courses that cover hundreds of miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads.

The sport is also featured in the annual X Games, the premier action sports event on the globe, featuring athletes competing for medals and prize money in sports including BMX Freestyle, Moto X, Skateboard, and Rally. Comrie-Picard has been among the dozen invited drivers every year since the rally discipline was introduced to the contest, and he has already secured an early invitation to return in 2009.

The Rally America national championship includes nine events in a cross-continent season that extends from January to late October. The Canadian Rally Championship has six events from coast to coast. ACP Rally will contest a busy season, with rally events on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, select drift events — and the X Games.

The ACP Rally program is made possible by: NOS Energy (www.drinknos.com), K&N (www.knfilters.com), Mitsubishi Canada (www.mitsubishi-motors.ca), Yokohama Canada (www.yokohama.ca), Motul (www.motulusa.com), AMS (www.amsperformance.com), Works (www.worksevo.com), Brian Crower (www.briancrower.com), JE (www.jepistons.com), Exedy (www.exedyusa.com), Ohlins (www.ohlinsusa.com), Pfitzner Performance Gearbox (www.ppgearbox.com.au), Mishimoto (www.mishimoto.com), Oakley (www.oakley.com), Innovate Motorsports (www.tuneyourengine.com), Team Dynamics (www.teamdynamicsracing.com), Endless (www.endlessusa.com), NBB (www.nbblights.ca), Sparco (www.sparcousa.com), NGK (www.ngksparkplugs.com), Seibon Carbon (www.seiboncarbon.com), Piloti (www.piloti.com), and Skull Candy (www.skullcandy.com).

Photo by Warwick Patterson

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