SAAB PRO RALLY TEAM SCORES CONSECUTIVE VICTORIES NORCROSS, Ga. - Scoring consecutive Group 5 victories in the first two national Michelin/SCCA PRO Rally events, Team Saab is off to a strong start for the 1997 rally season. Amid clouds of dust and flying rocks, Saab rally driver Sam Bryan and co-driver Rob Walden challenged one of the rally circuit's most demanding events: Rim of the World, May 2-3, and emerged with a Group 5 victory. The SCCA/Michelin Rim of the World PRO Rally was a 13-stage, 245-mile race held in the Angeles National Forest, south of Palmdale, Calif. This win comes on the heels of a victory at the Wild West PRO Rally in April, held in forests near Olympia, Wash. In both races, the Saab team's front-wheel-drive Saab 900 Turbo Coupe captured first place in Group 5, and third place overall, beating many four-wheel-drive competitors. Sponsored by Saab Cars USA, Inc., the rally-edition Saab 900 features a potent 300-hp 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder with electronic engine management and traction control. Sporting brightly colored graphics and Saab Monte Carlo Yellow paint, the No. 900 rally car has proven to be a crowd favorite as it thunders by. Bryan, from Kent, Washington, and Walden, from Seattle, have been rallying together since 1995, when they campaigned a 1980 Saab 900 to a Group 2 championship. Both rally events have been taped to be televised on ESPN2. The Wild West PRO Rally was shown May 3 and will be rebroadcast on May 19; The Rim of the World PRO Rally will be broadcast June 1 (7:30 p.m.) and June 4 (2 a.m.). "Both events were extremely rough, but the Saab proved its sturdiness and reliability," Bryan said. "We're driving hard, but striving for smoothness. Our consistent finishes show that we're a valid challenger to the four-wheel-drive racers." Rally racing has always been an integral part of Saab's heritage. The automaker gives considerable credit to its many rally victories for the company's early successes in the world market. Saab Cars USA, Inc., based in Norcross, Ga., is the importer and distributor for Swedish-made Saab 900 and 9000 automobiles. The next Michelin/SCCA PRO Rally championship event-the Susquehannock Trail PRO Rally-will take place June 6-7, 1997 in Wellsboro, Penn.