Canadian rally driver Mark Jennings-Bates will be competing in the Western Canadian season opener on March 7th 2010 in Cochrane Alberta. This year, Jennings-Bates will be racing under the Rally4Life banner as he prepares to be Canada’s first driver to compete in the notorious Dakar Rally with the Bowler Offroad factory team.

Cochrane Rally however, will be a different challenge from the Dakar with slick icy roads, freezing weather and shorter “sprint” type stages. “It is a great event, a good challenge for car and team,” said Jennings-Bates, adding “this is an exciting year, where we start on home turf in Canada and finish up in another country competing in the Dakar.”

The Rally4Life project will be documented in a 6 part TV series, The Race 4 Life which will portray the training and race at The Dakar as well as the philanthropic work of the Rally4Life Foundation, working alongside JustADrop and FeViva. This year, the Foundation hopes to assist in projects in Sudan, Guatemala, Kenya and Haiti.

Jennings-Bates will pair up with Alberta rally driver Colin Armstrong for this event who himself is a very solid competitor behind the wheel, but will adopt the role of co-pilot for the Cochrane event. As the Kelowna based team prepares the 2004 Subaru Sti for the first event of the year, all eyes are on the weather which is notoriously fickle this time of year. “We can see anything from a typical Alberta deep freeze with temperatures well below zero, all the way through to a crazy Rockies Chinook which sends the mercury soaring and changes conditions in a few hours… tire choice ends up being a real factor in this event” stated Jennings-Bates.

The Rally4Life Canadian team is based in Kelowna, British Columbia and competes in the Western Canada Rally Championship and select events in the Canadian Rally Championship which is broadcast in High Definition on TSN and will be Canada’s first competitive car entry into the Dakar Rally.

Locally, the team is supported by Ksport USA, Aerius Engineering, BC Resort Homes, Big O Tires Westbank, AGAR Paint and Autobody, Wyatt Autoparts, Provision Data, Bell Racewear, Pinnacle Elite Athletes and Pinnacle Physiotherapy, K96.3FM and Castanet.net.

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