Ripon, September 10, 2007 -- Antoine L'Estage and his co-driver Nathalie Richard clocked the fastest time on 16 of the 18 special stages and decisively won the Defi-Ste-Agathe/Montpellier rally by more than two minutes. This Quebec-based rally, the fourth round of the Canadian Rally Championship, takes place over two days in and around Ste-Agathe and the Petite Nation region. It proved to be an endurance test for the rally cars but the Concerto Yokohama Hyundai Tiburon had a worry-free weekend, allowing the winning L'Estage/Richard duo to increase their lead in the quest for the 2007 Canadian title. From the very first special stage L'Estage and Richard demonstrated that they were the team to beat and they never looked back. It's a third consecutive victory for the team as well as the third year in a row they take home the trophy from the Defi Ste-Agathe rally.

"If everything looked like it went well and that we had an easy victory, it's because we didn't leave out any details in preparing for this rally, recalls the driver from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. As usual, John Buffum ensured that the Concerto Hyundai was in excellent condition when the rally started. Our reconnaissance day on Thursday allowed us to identify all the tricky sections, as well as the ones in which we could push really hard. Nathalie excels at delivering the pacenotes and my Yokohama tires served me very well on these forestry roads. I started the rally with a good rhythm and it was enough to take at least a few seconds off my competitors on each stage as the rally progressed. We then won the 14th stage of the rally by a big margin and from then on, it was just a matter of me managing our lead for the rest of the day. Nathalie and John are constantly reminding me that I don't need to win all the stages to win the rally! "

Increase in championship lead

As a result of this third consecutive win, L'Estage now has a seven point lead as he strives for the 2007 title. "The arrival of Hyundai Canada has added a new dimension to our season, adds L'Estage. The Tiburon sports a new livery in the manufacturer's colours and has been updated to reflect the 2007 design. Hyundai has just launched a High Performance Parts line and I am proud to be a spokesperson. There are still two rallies left this year and we'll try to increase our championship lead at the Pacific Forest Rally next month so that we can head into Bancroft, Ontario's Rally of the Tall Pines without the pressure of having to win the event in order to win the title. "

On October 19th and 20th, L'Estage, Richard and the Concerto Yokohama Hyundai will return to Merritt, B.C. for the Pacific Forest Rally, the fifth round of the Canadian Rally Championship.

-credit: coyote rallye