Subaru Rally Team Canada wins 2008 Canadian Rally Championship title and returns to defend in 2009



    TORONTO, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - Subaru Canada's return to the Canadian rally
circuit in 2008 was a resounding success. Subaru Rally Team Canada not only
clinched the overall Canadian Rally Championship (CRC) title with driver Pat
Richard and co-driver Alan Ockwell firmly planted in the seats of their new
2008 Subaru WRX STI, but the dynamic duo also gained the podium in all six
races over the season, winning three of them outright.
    Early in the season the team overcame many mechanical challenges while
learning the new rally car. They drove solidly through tough conditions at
several events that knocked many of the other top contenders out of rallies.
In so doing, they accumulated enough points to secure the CRC Manufacturer's
Championship and the North American Rally Cup for Subaru Canada, Inc. (SCI).
The North American Rally Cup is an award given to the manufacturer with the
highest number of points accumulated in rallies in Canada and the United
States throughout the year.
    The team of Ted and Lise Mendham, driving a Subaru won the CRC P4
championship and driver Hardy Schmidtke was the recipient of the CRC top
Novice driver's award. The all-new annual Subaru President's Trophy and $3,000
for the highest-placing Subaru throughout the year went to Craig Henderson and
Lyne Murphy.
    In 2009, Richard and Ockwell will be back for Subaru Rally Team Canada to
defend their championships. Subaru will return for its eighteenth consecutive
year of participation in the Canadian Rally Championship series and another
year as the major series sponsor. Subaru is proud to partner with Pat Richard
and his Rocket Rally Racing shop, operating out of Squamish, B.C., which built
and will continue to prepare the car this year.
    "Subaru Canada is proud of its contributions to rallying in Canada over
the years," said Ted Lalka, vice president, product planning and marketing for
SCI. "Our long-time commitment has played a significant role in the increase
of Subaru vehicles competing in events all across the country and the growth
of rally in general. As a result, over the years there has been phenomenal
growth in the number of Subarus competing in rallies across Canada. From only
a few participants in the late 1990s, there were nearly 50 Subaru teams
contesting the National Championship in 2008."
    Subaru is pleased to announce that its highly successful contingency
program for competitors is back for 2009. The program was initially launched
to provide financial aid to all competitors who enter a Subaru in a national
event. In 2008, the enhanced Subaru contingency program benefited competitors
with over $60,000 paid out to the 47 Subaru teams who registered for the
program.
    Subaru will also continue to provide assistance to other teams through
its popular marketing, parts and technical support program. Once again, the
Subaru Event Van will attend all the national events providing valuable onsite
technical support and emergency hands-on help for any Subaru competitor in
need that has often proved invaluable and enabled many of them to continue in
competition.
    "While our parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, has made the difficult
decision to withdraw from international rally competition, there is still
enormous support for local and regional rally events around the world," said
Katsuhiro Yokoyama, president and CEO of SCI. "Rallying is an outstanding
demonstration of the safe, comfortable and pleasurable driving that Subaru
vehicles provide on differing terrains and under any climate condition. All of
this is enabled by our core technologies: horizontally-opposed engines and the
Symmetrical full-time All-Wheel drive system."





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For further information: Elaine Griffin, (905) 568-4959


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