Two drivers capable of winning have quietly entered the Olympus Rally, round three of the Rally America National Championship.

Olympus is set among the wooded mountainsides along the Washington Coast April 24-25th. Many teams are looking to pad their point leads or rewrite their fates on the tricky and gravelly Washington stages.

That will be difficult, however, because of Patrick Richard and Ramana Lagemann the two championship contenders who could become spoilers at Olympus.

Richard hails from Squamish B.C. and, actually, has a championship pedigree. He won back-to-back Canadian National titles in 2008-09 and added the 2005 Rally America Championship. In addition he was an X Games 12 competitor in the Rally Car Racing competition. But Richard has not been readily seen south of the Canadian border since his 6th overall finish at the 2008 Olympus Rally.

“I took some time off from rally before Olympus 2008 and only used that event as a primer to get back into the sport,” explained Richard, “I had fuel problems on day 1 of the event, but after fixing it we won the last three stages of the Rally.”

The mere fact that a rusty Patrick Richard could win three stages at the fastest event of the 2008 season means that Rally America teams should pay attention to a champion who can arrive and drive.

However, Richard has not determined what vehicle he will campaign at this year’s Olympus Rally. He is the current Canadian Subaru Rally Team driver and he has permission to bring his team car to the States. But Richard needs to iron out his logistics before deciding on running the late model Subaru at Olympus. “Though, whatever I bring down will definitely be an Open Class Car.”

“I am looking forward to coming back to the States,” said Richard. “Not many people realize Olympus is my home rally and where I cut my teeth driving. It’s easy for me to get here and I am really looking forward to rallying against the U.S. guys! I compete against (Antoine) l’Estage and (Andrew Comrie-Picard) ACP in Canada every weekend, but it’s going to be a new challenge to race some unseen competitors. ”

Depending on the Olympus Rally outcome the Unites States may see more of Richard as he fights for another X Games invite or the 2010 North American Rally Championship title.

Ramana Lagemann from Boston, MA also has history with the Subaru brand in the U.S. and the World Rally Championship. He once drove for the Subaru Rally Team USA when he was only 22 years old. In 2002, Lagemann was selected to drive for Subaru in the SCCA ProRally Championship. He quickly earned 3rd overall the following season and even extended his success to the World Rally Championships when he finished 10th overall at Rally New Zealand while becoming the first American to compete in WRC since the 1990s.

After Subaru, Lagemann continued to rally and also was an athlete in the inaugural X Games Rally Racing event in 2006. He returned in 2007 and made the ESPN highlight reels being the first to crash a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO while practicing the new 70 foot jump introduced in X Games that summer. Lagemann was okay, but his car had to be completely repaired in 2 days to be race ready. He made the start line but his X Games competition was cut short with engine power difficulties, but still gained a 4th overall victory at X Games.

Since then Ramana has taken a break from Rally but we’ve learned that he’ll be at Olympus in the Super Production Class battle supported by Barak Tuglu, owner of added, “I feel that the car is more of ‘Team Rally Tire’, since ‘.com’ makes things a bit virtual and too commercial where it’s all about our sweat and blood. Of course, that is just my humble opinion.”

“Timing really worked out to drive this car at Olympus,” said Lagemann, “It was the site of my last win in 2007 but the roads were different back then, though the character of the event is the same. We are just trying to spend our resources wisely. I don’t think you need the best car to win.”

Lagemman’s Super Production Class entry adds an instant challenge to SP points leader Travis Hanson, who is entered at Olympus looking to increase his points spread over Tim Rooney. Lagemann is a definite wild card with the skills and experience to win the SP class. Lagemann has understandably reserved expectations but you can still hear the anticipation in his voice when talking about returning to the driver’s seat.

“During my break I was attending rallys as a fan and watching Travis Hanson and Tim Penasack. I am looking forward to finally competing with them, but I think an SP car could still be good enough to take an overall podium finish.”

The entries of Patrick Richard in the Open Class and Ramana Lagemann in Super Production add more suspense to the Olympus outcome and that’s a good thing for Rally America followers and fans. One thing is certain, the results landscape could look much different after Olympus at the end of April and leading to the Oregon Trail Rally on May 14-15.

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 more than 100 miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads.

About Rally America
Based in Golden Valley, Minn., Rally America sanctions the premier rally racing series in the United States, the Rally America National Championship Series. In 2010, Rally America will conduct six National Championship events at venues across the country, from Olympia, Wash., to Bethel, Maine, and three European style rallycross events in New Jersey.

Patrick Richard Photo Credit: Matthieu Lambert/
Ramana Lagemann Photo Credit: Arthur Partyka/



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