Bobby Rahal has confirmed that he will field at least one car in this year's Toyota Atlantic Championship, with Danica Patrick returning for a second crack at the title.

The pair teamed up with Argent Mortgage for Patrick's debut Atlantic season in 2003, and the finance company will continue its involvement as primary sponsor for the car this season.

Argent's involvement in Toyota Atlantic - its first foray into motorsport - grew to include race event sponsorship in the series, and also allowed Rahal to field a second car in the Indianapolis 500 for Jimmy Vasser. The relationship has now grown to encompass both series on a regular basis, with Argent signing on as co-primary sponsor of the team's IRL entry, which will be driven by Buddy Rice until regular pilot Kenny Brack returns to full fitness.

"The alliance we enjoyed in 2003 with Argent and our Toyota Atlantic and Indy 500 programmes proved to be a tremendous asset for both of us," team boss Rahal said, "Argent introduced itself to a new audience through its marketing and media programmes last year and, with two racing programmes in 2004, we feel our partnership will support Argent's continued growth."

Patrick made Toyota Atlantic history in 2003 by becoming the first female to finish on the podium, when she finished second in Miami and third in Monterrey. The 21-year old recorded a sixth place finish in the final standings - the highest by a women driver in the 30-year history of the series.

"We are very pleased to expand our racing programme for 2004," said Argent president Wayne Lee, "Auto racing is a unique forum for a company to express its messages and we feel that Team Rahal and Bobby Rahal - with Danica, Kenny and Buddy as our drivers - gives us an outstanding vehicle for Argent. We are looking forward to another sensational racing season in 2004."

 

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