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NOS Energy rally driver Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard took fifth place overall this weekend at the 2009 X Games 15 Rally Car Race at the Home Depot Centre in Los Angeles.

The team qualified well and won their first elimination round, meeting Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana in the quarter-final. ACP was running strong against Pastrana when he started losing turbo boost – and bleeding time. He says a hard hit after going long on the jump during practice was to blame.

“I got the biggest air of the day over the jump during practice and nosed it in,” said Comrie-Picard. “The front of the car was pretty battered by the time I lined up against Travis, and one of the boost hoses was leaking. But the crew really deserves the credit for their incredible job in repairing the car to get it back to the starting line for each round through the quarterfinals. And of course Travis drove a great race.”

The unique X Games format sees drivers go head-to-head on a mixed asphalt and dirt course through the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, and features an exciting 70-foot gap jump that is a highlight for fans and drivers alike. The race is broadcast live on ABC and ESPN, with additional broadcasts in more than 100 countries around the world.

“This is a terrific result for the NOS Energy team and ACP,” said Ernie Manansala, Motorsports and Lifestyle Marketing Manager for NOS Energy Drink. “We wanted to make sure ACP used all his Human Horsepower to get over the jump, and sure enough he went big!”

The team’s NOS Energy Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX was the only car in the top five without factory support. IRL Champion Kenny Brack – in a Ford Fiesta — took the win when Subaru-backed Pastrana spun out during the final heat. Tanner Foust earned the bronze medal in his Ford Fiesta while teammate Brian Deegan finished in fourth. 2008 co-bronze medalists – Subaru backed Ken Block and Dave Mirra — finished seventh and eighth respectively.

“There’s no shame in losing to the Ford Fiestas, really,” said Comrie-Picard, “the cars are beautifully engineered, and they were certainly well-driven here. I hope we see more of them competing in America.”

The 2008 contest saw Comrie-Picard well in the lead over rival Mirra when he shorted the jump in his NOS Energy Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and flipped end over end. It was a spectacular crash that made highlight reels around the world. Comrie-Picard was unharmed. The flip was one of the featured moments in X Games 3D: The Movie, which premiered in Los Angeles during X Games and hits big screens nationwide later this month.

The X Games is 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. 2009 marks the 15th anniversary of the high-profile contest.

Comrie-Picard is among just four drivers from around the world who have been invited to X Games in every year since the sport was introduced to the contest in 2006. The Rally Car discipline is a hit in the X Games format, consistently setting the highest television ratings of the four-day action sports event.

The 2009 contest saw the elimination of rally co-drivers – deemed unnecessary on the short course – and the addition of in-car commentators that allowed fans to get closer to the action than ever before with first-hand analysis, live from the course. ACP’s 2008 X Games co-driver Jen Horsey was one of the commentators.

In the lead-up to the big show, Comrie-Picard was invited to throw the first pitch at a Los Angeles Dodgers home game against the Houston Astros. He also took a podium finish at his first-ever Lucas Oil Off Road race in a Bully Dog Superlite truck (July 25) in Lake Elsinore, California.

ACP now returns his focus to the Rally America title. There is just a four-point spread between ACP, in third at the mid-point in the season, Block, Foust and Andi Mancin. All are trailing defending champion Pastrana.

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 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), Bully Dog (www.bullydog.com), 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), Rockford Fosgate (www.rockfordfosgate.com), Piloti (www.piloti.com), Stater Bros. (www.staterbros.com), and Skull Candy (www.skullcandy.com).

For more information and video highlights, visit: www.acprally.com. Find us on YouTube or Facebook under ACP Rally.

Photo by Chris Maydaniuk (www.worldrallysport.com).

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