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Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Announces “The Right to Write” Program

Michael Petersen to Support African Education During Euromilhões Dakar 2008

LISBON, PORTUGAL, January 1, 2008 – Team owner and driver Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev., USA) took advantage of the preparation time on his Euromilhões Dakar 2008 entry, the No. 331 Petersen Motorsports/MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/BF Goodrich Chevrolet, to announce the team’s “Right to Write” program. Throughout this year’s 30th Anniversary of the Euromilhões Dakar, he and members of Petersen Motorsports will distribute ink pens to children along the 5,762 mile journey. Petersen thought of and crafted the “Right to Write” program with the objective to help encourage the children of Africa to pursue their educational dreams in an effort to reverse the poverty facing so much of the continent.

The Rally-Raid, which is sanctioned by the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), will make its first landfall on the Africa continent with the third of 15 stages. Once in Africa, the Petersen Motorsports buggy- officially entered by Wide Open Adventures- will travel through Morocco to Sahara Occidental, Mauritania and Senegal. Beginning with the Nador, Morocco to Er Rachidia, Morocco stage, the United States-based team will begin distributing the pens to all the children that they come across during the stages and in the nightly bivouacs. Petersen will be joined by other members of the team including Program Manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT., USA), Crew Chief Dennis Chizma (Las Vegas) and Lead Technician Nico Castellaccio (Tracy, Calif., USA) in the Rally. Co-driver Matthew Stevenson (Ipswich, England) and Team Manager Darren Skilton (Long Beach, Calif.), who is the owner of Wide Open Adventures, will also be involved in the handing out of as many pens as possible while the supplies last.

The two-wheel drive vehicle will undergo its first official step tomorrow as the No. 331 Petersen Motorsports T1.3 class buggy rolls into “scrutineering”/technical inspection. The Euromilhões Dakar event will leave Lisbon on January 5th and reach the Atlantic Ocean in Dakar on January 20th. The event’s only rest day is scheduled for January 13th in Nouakchott, Mauritania following the eighth stage of the rally. Overall, the 2008 running of “The Dakar” will cover a total of 9,273 km; 5,736 km of which are the “Special” timed sections.

As a rookie in the 2007 Dakar, Petersen earned an impressive finish of 23rd overall, fifth in the two-wheel drive class. He drove to a high stage finish of eighth-place in the final “special” of the rally. That final stage charged along the Dakar coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing has won nearly all the world’s major motorsports endurance classics including the 24 Hours of Le Mans (’03 & ’04), the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 overall (’95-‘97), the 24 Hours At Daytona (‘01), the 12 Hours of Sebring (‘05) and the Petit Le Mans (’05 & ‘06). They have won over 50 off-road events and the American Le Mans Series GT2 Class Driver and IMSA Cup Championships (’05 and ’06) and Team Championship (’05) on the shoulders of 10 American Le Mans Series class victories.


Michael Petersen, Owner/Driver: “We are blessed in this country. No matter how bad your individual situation is in the United States, it is better than a good situation on the route that we’ll take during Dakar. We hope that this program can give a very basic tool, a pen, which will help inspire the kids to go out and fight to get an education; to improve their situation. It is a big challenge to the whole continent and for the world. This won’t solve the problem of poverty in Africa but we hope it is a small step forward.”

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