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Driver Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard and his NOS Energy Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX took a decisive win this weekend at Rally Colorado, the 8th round of the national Rally America series.

“I love it when it’s a battle,” said Comrie-Picard. “We were fighting tooth-and-nail with Travis (Pastrana) early in the rally and that’s really satisfying.”

The challenging Colorado rally through the high-desert roads around the Yampa Valley is fast and often features widely variable weather. This year was no exception. Dry, dusty conditions on Day 1 were replaced by driving rain that turned the roads slick with mud on Day 2. The rally ended under a rainbow.

A ferocious early battle shifted gears on Day 2. Comrie-Picard and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey found themselves holding position at the front of the pack for the second half of the rally after Subaru Rally Team USA rival Pastrana barreled through a chicane – taking huge penalties.

“We would have preferred to have raced hard in a close fight right to the end,” said Comrie-Picard. “But to finish a minute and 46 seconds in the lead is an accomplishment to be proud of after 100 miles of racing.”

The duo took the most stage wins of any team, winning eight of the 16 stages.

The first-place finish moves Comrie-Picard into the top-three in the overall Rally America series — ahead of Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block — and extends his lead in the North American Championship. With one round remaining in US competition, the driver is assured to at least tie Block for third place in the 2009 season.

“If Rally Colorado was anything to go by, the final round next month is going to be intense,” said Comrie-Picard. “We’re making every round count this season.”

The Colorado event saw the team return to US competition for the first time since their top-five result at X Games 15 this summer in Los Angeles. The team took a two-round hiatus from regular season competition both to prepare for the prestigious contest, and also to return their competition vehicle to gravel rally specification afterward. Rally America allows two event drops in the season, counting seven of nine rallies toward the championship.

Second-place went to Polish driver Andi Mancin and co-driver Maciej Wislawski, while Nathan Conley and co-driver Todd Moberly finished in third-place overall.

It’s the first time that Mitsubishi cars have scored a one-two finish in Rally America history.

“It was great to see two Mitsubishis atop the podium,” said Comrie-Picard.

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 Caleb Tkach/Kevin Hahn Photography/Rally America

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