With over twenty two-wheel-drive rally cars entered, a classic battle shapes up for the $5,000 event prize fund and valuable points towards the Jake Himes Cup

The first round of the 2011 MaxAttack! Series, presented by the Danza del Sol winery, has drawn yet another strong entry, with teams from near and far gathering in the town of Ocean Shores on the gorgeous Washington state coast to contest 93 stage miles over two days. The Olympus Rally was once home to the American round of the prestigious World Rally Championship, so there is a lot of history in this storied event. It is difficult to find a more scenic rally, as the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean lap the sandy shores near the stages.

There are more than twenty two-wheel-drive rally cars entered in the MaxAttack! season opener, and as usual it is impossible to predict a clear favorite for victory. There are front-drive cars, rear drive cars, turbocharged cars and rotary-engine cars. There is a 42-year gap between the oldest car entered (the 1969 Saab 96 of Garth Ankeny and Russ Kraushaar) and the newest car entered (the 2011 Ford Fiesta of Dillon Van Way and Jake Blattner). So it will be interesting to see what will be the formula for victory on the generally smooth and twisty gravel roads.

Olympus is the third round of the 2011 Rally America National Championship, so one might expect that the front-runners for MaxAttack! could be the national series regulars. The Scion XD that made a splash in the 2010 Rally America National Championship is returning to the Northwest, however with both more power and a new pilot. National series regular Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard is now behind the wheel, and the Scion now boasts a turbocharged motor. Briton Robbie Durant will join ACP for this event to read the notes. Dillon Van Way, a two-wheel-drive and MaxAttack! series regular, has swapped his trusty Ford Focus for another Blue Oval machine, a turbocharged Ford Fiesta. He also has a different co-driver for 2011, with Oregon resident Jack Blattner now filling that role. Wyatt Knox is making the long tow out from New Hampshire to pilot his powerful Group 5 MazdaSpeed3; he and co-driver Ole Holter are a team to be reckoned with.

The BMW marque has largely been absent from the Rally America ranks for the past five years, but that is poised to change at Olympus. With E30 and E36 chassis now available at a reasonable cost, the powerful, fun rear-wheel-drive cars are now more affordable to the grassroots rally competitor. Two Bimmers head west from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. David Kern will debut his immaculate new M3, and Brian McGuire and Jennifer Kraus will pilot a 325i. Dave and Rick Hintz, who for a number of years have dominated the Northwest rally scene in a Subaru, have sold their WRX and returned to their rear-wheel-drive roots. Formerly racing a turbocharged RX-7 (and others), the Hintz brothers will return to the two-wheel-drive fray in another M3. This will no doubt be a treat for spectators.

There are some other local, west-coast hotshoes that are going to give the national competitors a run for the MaxAttack! money. Heading that list is the Demon Rally Team, Tom and Don Burress, in a very fast turbocharged Volkswagen Golf. Marking the first anniversary of the Olympus debut of their Mazda3 is the team of Dave Henderson and Terry McDowell, who are getting steadily faster with every appearance. Coming off a successful weekend at a recent rallycross event in Washington state, Kris Dahl has been showing good pace as he develops his Honda Civic. His father Ed is the team’s co-driver. The Civic of Brian Gottlieb and Patrick Darrow has become a regular in the MaxAttack! series, and could do well on one of their local events. Another one of those fast Northwest drivers that may be unfamiliar to rally enthusiasts from out of the area is Nate Tennis. Tennis, an instructor at the Dirtfish rally school, has shown tremendous speed over the years in a Saab 99. Adam Crane and Britta Nielsen are always fun to watch in their Toyota Corolla.

The Rallysports Group of America is also pleased to announce that veteran co-driver Alex Gelsomino, who partners Ken Block in the Monster World Rally Team Ford Fiesta, has once again agreed to furnish the top-placed rookie co-driver in the MaxAttack! series with a very generous prize. The MaxAttack! series top-finishing co-driver with five or fewer rally weekends through Lake Superior will receive $500 in cash from Alex. Thank you, Alex, for your continued generosity and support of the series.

The three events that will constitute the 2011 MaxAttack! Rally Series Presented by Danza del Sol are:
*Olympus Rally, April 30-May 1, Ocean Shores, WA, http://www.olympusrally.com
*New England Forest Rally, July 15-16, Bethel, ME, http://www.newenglandforestrally.com
*Lake Superior Performance Rally, October 14-16, Houghton, MI, http://www.lsprorally.com
The Olympus Rally and the New England Forest Rally will be the qualifying events for the Jake Himes Cup, and the Lake Superior Performance Rally will be the central Shootout event.

The MaxAttack! Rally Series Presented by Danza del Sol consists of three events across the country, and each event will feature a $5,000 prize fund to be distributed among the top two-wheel-drive teams, as well as a season championship. For more information about the MaxAttack! Series and the Rallysports Group of America, please visit http://www.max-attack.com.

About Danza del Sol Winery
Nestled in the rolling hills of the beautiful Temecula Wine Valley, Danza Del Sol Winery is a thirty-five acre estate winery located in Southern California’s Wine Country. While Danza Del Sol’s tasting room officially opened in February 2010, the winery itself already has a remarkable history. The estate was previously owned by Dr. William Filsinger and his late wife Katharine, who provided the Temecula Wine Valley with exceptional wines for nearly 30 years. Danza Del Sol is dedicated to producing a unique range of premium varietal and proprietary blended wines that are sure to exceed your expectations, at affordable prices. For more information, please visit http://danzadelsol.com/.

About Rallysports Group of America
Rallysports Group of America, Inc. (RSGA) was formed as an organization in 2006 to advance the sport of performance stage rally in the United States. By providing education on performance driving, car preparation and safety, and by fostering the growth of meaningful competition, RSGA seeks to provide a sustainable and competitive arena for the advancement of North American performance rally that promotes increased value for rally competitors, organizers, and sponsors alike. For more information, please visit http://www.max-attack.com.

About RallyCar, Inc.
Based in Golden Valley, Minn., RallyCar sanctions the premier performance rally series in the United States, the Rally America National Championship Series. In 2011, RallyCar is conducting six National Championship events at venues across the country, from Olympia, Washington to Newry, Maine. RallyCar competitors reach speeds of well over 100 mph in modified street cars on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt or snow. Additionally, RallyCar sanctions the 2011 U.S. Rallycross Championship featuring rally cars racing door-to-door on tricky tarmac/dirt race tracks. More information about rally and rallycross can be found at www.rally-america.com, and videos can viewed at www.youtube.com/rallyamericaseries.

Photos by Jerry Winker, Lorne Trezise, Jim Culp and Pete Kuncis



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