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This is taken from worldrallynews.com - hope I don't get busted. It is a subscription site, not being sure who all saw this, but i think people should be able to see what others say about the state of rally in the US/North America in Europe.


Rally fans in North America are cautiously optimistic about the future after recent upheaval threatened to put an end to the sport in both Canada and the United States.

"I think obviously the last three or four months have been an off-season of particular turmoil," said former Mitsubishi Motorsports America navigator Christian Edstrom. "A lot of people are feeling tenuous about what is going to happen."

Plans are now proceeding for full event calendars on both sides of the border, although there are no apparent title sponsors confirmed and serious manufacturer participation remains an unknown.

After real fears that there may not have been any national rally program in the United States this year, there are now two series jostling for prominence.

The Sports Car Club of America dropped its special stage ProRally program last fall over skyrocketing insurance rates, ending 21 years of involvement with the sport. Rally America, the organisation which provided timing and results systems to SCCA, took up the challenge, adopting the sanctioning and marketing duties. The privately owned group has announced an eight-round championship.

"They key to 2005 is a smooth transition; that means we are, in a lot of ways, doing as little as possible," said Rally America spokesman J.B. Niday. Heading into the season-opening Sno*Drift Rally at the end of this month, Niday said he anticipates a strong season.

Meanwhile, the National Auto Sport Association is also offering a series of four rallies under the United States Rally Championship banner. The first in the series is set for March.

To top it off, the SCCA announced last month it wasn't entirely out of the rally game. The group has developed a closed-course rally program, including new wheel-to-wheel CircuitRally races. Organizers hope this could offer a different look at the rally experience that may find its niche among the American motorsports audience.

"Competitors are the real winners here. They will conceivably have more quality events from which to choose and they can decide which best meets their needs and budgets," said Ray Hocker, NASA spokesman.

But David Sutton isn't so sure. After a recent trip to the United States, the UK-based veteran team owner said he doesn't think there is substantial enough support for so much rallying in a country where it has yet to catch on.

"At the risk of making myself unpopular, I'm not sure whether the U.S. is ready for two championships right now," he said. "Only time will tell."

So far, Rally America appears to be winning the contest for high-profile competitors.

Rumour has it that motocross-pro-turned-rally-driver Travis Pastrana will return to the car this year, tackling the Rally America championship with a handsome set of sponsors and a high-profile effort. And WRC veteran Stig Blomqvist, along with co-driver Ana Goni, is planning to contest the series in a David Sutton run Gp N Subaru. The latter team will sit out the first Rally America race at the end of the month, choosing instead to contest the WRC round in Blomqvist's native Sweden.

Popular 2004 North American Champion and former WRC competitor Pat Richard is still a wildcard. The former Subaru Rally Team Canada driver has remained coy about whether he'll return to the sport after Subaru dropped the team at the end of last season. He ran in the United States as a privateer last year.

The 12-year relationship between the Canadian Association of Rallysport and series sponsor Subaru Canada ended abruptly in November. The decision came following a dispute between the sanctioning body and its marketing company.

The Canadian association is also in financial trouble, facing a deficit for 2004. However, CARS is planning to present a full calendar of six events, with the first, Rallye Perce Neige, set to go in early February.
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