The 2010 Rally America series kicks off this weekend with one of the few true snow rallies in the world, the challenging Sno*Drift Rally based in northeastern Michigan.

Some 50 teams will take the start this weekend, facing tough conditions as they hit speeds of 130 mph on more than 100 miles of ice and snow covered course. Teams will have to tread carefully to keep from sliding off the roads. Drivers who checked out the stages this week report this year's running of Sno*Drift features incredibly challenging conditions, with lots of ice.

A switch from Subaru to Ford for a campaign on the World Rally Championship means a big learning curve for Ken Block, who's taking on the Rally America Championship this year an Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta last seen in competition at X Games.

The team debuted the car's new livery just this week and rally fans are looking forward to seeing the driver out on the stages in what is probably the most technically sophisticated rally car in the series.

Block's former teammate on Subaru Rally Team USA, Travis Pastrana, is back in action at this event, competing alongside teammate Dave Mirra in the top-spec Subaru rally cars. Although Pastrana is nursing a freshly broken collarbone, the driver is no stranger to injury and it isn't expected to slow him down.

Also in the hunt for the win at this event is defending North American Rally Champion Andrew "ACP" Comrie-Picard. He starts the season with co-driver Jeremy Wimpey by his side in the team's familiar Evo IX.

Former Canadian and North American Rally Champions Antoine L’Estage and his co-driver Nathalie Richard are also in the mix this weekend. The duo are making a serious bid for the North American championship this season after ACP edged L'Estage out of the top spot at the final event in 2009.

And Polish driver Andi Mancin is back in North America in his Evo IX. The driver finished in the runner-up position in the Rally America championship last year.

Returning for 2010 is the 2009 Rally America Super Production champion Jimmy Keeney who won the title in the last event of 2009 by one point over 2008 Super Production champion Patrick Moro.

Also returning for 2010 is the 2009 Rally America Production champion Dillon Van Way, a 17-year-old who learned enormous speed from his Ford Focus last year on his way to his championship.

This year there will be six forest events from Maine to Washington before X Games 16 plus three new European style rallycross events after X Games all based in Southern New Jersey.

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.

Top teams in the series are also invited to compete in the Summer X Games, the leading action sports event broadcast live on ABC and ESPN.

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.