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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Thomson Motorsports debuts at Corona Rally Mexico with strong performance amongst world's top competitors

LEON, MEXICO (March 06, 2006) - Current Canadian Rally Champions driver Peter Thomson and co-driver Rod Hendricksen made their debut at the Corona Rally Mexico - the third round of the World Rally Championship - this past weekend piloting their Four Star Motorsports prepared 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX to an impressive 9th place in the Group N class and a very respectable 20th place overall. A furious battle for the overall win between Sebastien Loeb and Petter Solberg resulted in Loeb snatching the victory from Solberg after Solberg experienced power steering problems on the penultimate stage of the rally.

The Corona Rally Mexico ran from March 3rd to March 5th and was based in the beautiful city of Leon. 2006 marks the third year that the Corona Rally Mexico has been a stop in the World Rally Championship. Intense competition, high-altitudes, boiling temperatures and grueling road conditions are the reasons why many top teams consider this rally to be the second toughest event in the championship. The roads were very demanding on the car, tires and crew. Extreme altitude changes mixed with the wildly changing character of each twisty, tire chewing stage meant that a clean drive would be paramount for the crew.

Being the only round of the WRC that occurs in North America, it seemed the appropriate place to introduce Thomson Motorsports to the WRC. "After a trip to the first ever Corona Rally Mexico two year's ago to spectate, I was convinced that I needed to take on a new challenge in my motorsport career"
exclaimed Thomson. However, the actual decision to run this year's Rally Mexico was only made shortly after competing in the first round of the 2006 Canadian Rally Championship Rallye Perce-Neige Maniwaki, where Thomson experienced an off that cost him a finish. The late decision to compete in the Corona Rally Mexico did not leave much time to prepare for his endeavor into the Mexican rally.

Having only two weeks to prepare the vehicle, Thomson turned to the crew at Four Star Motorsports, which built and has maintained the Group N Subaru since its inception. Andrew Comrie-Picard and Dov Aranoff from Musketeer Racing also volunteered their time to help transport the team's equipment and vehicle as well as lend a hand at service. Also joining the team and fresh in from Europe was Engine Management Specialist **** Kehl who helped setup the engine for the extreme variation in altitude and the FIA spec race fuel that the Subaru would encounter throughout the rally. After two weeks of long hours and a productive shakedown stage on the Thursday prior to the event, the effort paid off and resulted in a car that was ready to take on the world.

The team's week in Mexico started off with Recce, which went well, with one exception; the recce vehicle had two punctures which are not uncommon for this rally.

Thursday's ceremonial start was a sight to behold. Fans swarmed the start podium and lined the start line and rally route for kilometers. "It's the most spectators I've ever seen at a rally" said Thomson. With a display of Mexican dancing and fireworks the rally was off to an exciting start!

Despite a puncture on Day 1, the team had a strong showing on Friday. The Thomson/Hendricksen crew managed to advance their position to 9th place in the Group N Class and 19th overall, impressing many of the PWRC regular contenders and manufacturers teams alike. The stages were very narrow and contained huge dips, speed bumps, rock walls and unforgiving shoulders. High temperatures and abrasive surfaces wore down the team's Michelins and made tire choice a decisive factor in the rally. The extreme heat also made servicing for the team an endurance race of its own.

Saturday was to see Peter continue his well planned and calculated attack on the event. However, Special Stage 11 would be a turning point for the team.
After finishing 18th fastest, things took a turn for the worse. The high altitude and high ambient temperatures were wreaking havoc with the competing Group N rally cars and the Thomson Motorsports' Subaru was also running hotter than usual. While checking coolant levels and to ensure there were no air pockets in the cooling system, co-driver Rod Hendricksen suffered severe burns on his hands as a result of a faulty thermostat that caused a pressure build-up in the coolant reservoir. Hot water erupted from the coolant reservoir and burned Rod's fingers. After medical assistance was administered, Hendricksen decided to continue despite his injuries. The team incurred a time penalty as a result of restarting the rally under the Super Rally regulations but was able to continue to the finish setting excellent stage times. "It was unfortunate for us because prior to the incident we were in 1st place amongst the non-Production car WRC (P-WRC) Group N competitors. We were one of the few, if not only, non-factory supported Group N teams at the rally. It would have been nice to have been able to hold on to our first place position" remarked Thomson. In the end the crew managed to hold onto a 2nd place non-PWRC Group N finish.

Sunday's race brought even more success and a clean drive to Peter, moving him to his final position in the rally of 20th Overall and 9th in the Group N class, earning the team a single point. Four Star Motorsports owners Frank and Dan Sprongl were ecstatic about the finish: "We were both very pleased with the performance and reliability that the car showed this weekend and that it allowed Peter & Rod to accomplish what they set out to do".

The strong finish and experience gained by the crew in Mexico is expected to further develop the team's already established winning edge in the highly competitive 2006 Canadian Rally Championship. "Rally Mexico was just an incredible experience. Something I doubt I will ever forget! Although nothing is for sure right now, we're currently not ruling out competing in more WRC events in the near future" said Thomson.

A special thanks also goes to the crew at Four Star Motorsports, Andrew Comrie-Picard, Dov Aranoff and Diana for a fantastic job and helping to obtain such a great result.

Thomson Motorsports would like to thank the following sponsors for their
support: Lexar Media, Janes, Chain Reaction Bicycles Inc. and Four Star Motorsports.


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For more information please contact or visit:
Daniel Sprongl
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.fourstarmotorsports.com
Phone: (905) 877-1733

Team Website: http://www.thomsonmotorsport.com

For detailed results please visit the World Rally Championship Website at:
http://www.wrc.com

Photo credit: Warwick Patterson (Photos available from
http://www.FormulaPhoto.com)
 
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