Defending North American rally champion Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard is heading for a snowy season start in Michigan this weekend at the first round of the 2010 Rally America championship.

The NOS Energy-backed rally team will take on Sno*Drift in their familiar, top-spec Evo IX. Despite tough competition from factory-backed teams, Comrie-Picard remains a favorite for the win in the January 29-30 contest.

"I'm feeling good about our chances this weekend," says Comrie-Picard. "Between the heavy development of the Subaru team cars and the new threat from Ken Block in that European Ford, there's a lot of amazing new machinery out there -- but we've got reliability and experience on our side."

Comrie-Picard took the win at Sno*Drift in 2006 and has finished on the podium in each of the past two years. The team is counting on a combination of tactical aggression and experience to get them to the top as they take on a 100 mile course that will see them hit speeds of 130 mph on glare ice and snow.

"Snow and ice driving is a real artform and I love it," says Comrie-Picard. "I grew up with this weather; I'm right at home in these conditions."

Comrie-Picard will be accompanied by co-driver Jeremy Wimpey at this event. The duo ran select events together in 2009, scoring a mid-season win together in Colorado.

Special thanks from the team to the Garland Lodge and Resort in Lewiston, MI, for their support at this event.

The Rally America national championship is a challenging, all-season series comprised of six events across the country. Rally America also organizes the marquee X Games rally contest each summer, airing on ESPN and ABC. The 2010 season will also see the launch of the European-style rally cross discipline mid-year. Comrie-Picard is expected to take on both of these US rally series and make a return to the X Games for a fifth year. He will also compete in the Canadian Rally Championship.

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.

The sport is featured in the annual X Games, the premier action sports event on the globe, featuring athletes competing for medals and prize money in sports including BMX Freestyle, Moto X, Skateboard, and Rally. Comrie-Picard has been among the dozen invited drivers in each of the four years since the rally discipline was introduced to the contest and expects to return in 2010.

ABOUT THE DRIVER: Defending North American Rally Champion Andrew Comrie-Picard is a contender for the American, Canadian, and North American rally championships and expects to return to compete in X Games this summer for fifth time. When he isn’t racing, Comrie-Picard works in film, television, and print media as an automotive expert and divides his time between Toronto, Canada, and Los Angeles, California.

ABOUT THE CO-DRIVER: Jeremy Wimpey first paired with ACP at the 2009 Colorado Rally where they quickly gained confidence and an overall win. A trail scientist by day, Jeremy brings his attention to detail and warped sense of humor to the team. He has been competing in rally car competition since 2002.

The ACP Rally program is made possible by: NOS Energy (www.drinknos.com), K&N (www.knfilters.com), Yokohama Canada (www.yokohama.ca), Garland Lodge and Resort (www.garlandusa.com), Bully Dog (www.bullydog.com), Motul (www.motulusa.com), AMS (www.amsperformance.com), Öhlins (www.ohlinsusa.com), Brian Crower (www.briancrower.com), JE (www.jepistons.com), Exedy (www.exedyusa.com), Oakley (www.oakley.com), Mishimoto (www.mishimoto.com), Innovate Motorsports (www.tuneyourengine.com), Works (www.worksevo.com), Team Dynamics (www.teamdynamicsracing.com), Pfitzner Performance Gearbox (www.ppgearbox.com.au), Endless (www.endlessusa.com), NBB (www.nbblights.ca), Sparco (www.sparcousa.com), NGK (www.ngksparkplugs.com), Rockford Fosgate (www.rockfordfosgate.com), Piloti (www.piloti.com) and Skull Candy (www.skullcandy.com).

For more information and video highlights, visit: www.acprally.com. To arrange interviews or find out more, contact +1647-500-2729 or ACP(at)acpracing(dot)com. Find us on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook under ACP Rally. Photo courtesy of Scott Rains.