Walkington takes third in class at Defi; Canadian P3 Championship down to two points Steve Walkington and stand-in co-driver Alan Perry finished third in P3 class, nineteenth overall in the Rallye Defi Sainte Agathe/Duhamel, round 7 of the ...
Walkington takes third in class at Defi; Canadian P3 Championship down to two points
Steve Walkington and stand-in co-driver Alan Perry finished third in P3 class, nineteenth overall in the Rallye Defi Sainte Agathe/Duhamel, round 7 of the Canadian National Rally Championship. P3 Championship leader Scott Comens failed to score any points and the rally's P3 winner was ineligible to score national points, so Walkington was able to close the gap between him and Comens down to 2 points with two events remaining.
Running short stages on roads south and west of the town of Sainte Agathe, Quebec, day one of the rally started off slowly for Walkington, who was getting used to a new co-driver who, in turn, was getting used to his sixth different driver this season as well as running on his own pace notes for only the second time. After the first four stages, he was 5th in class, though 6 seconds ahead of Comens.
Walkington was expecting Comens to pull ahead in the last two stages of the evening. However, the stages were cancelled after a competitor went off of the stage road and took down a power pole.
The second day of the rally was run on gravel roads around the town of Duhamel and consisted of five long stages. Walkington and Perry grew more comfortable working together and their stage times were better as a result. They finished the first stage 19th overall, almost a minute faster than Comens, but and only 6 seconds slower than American driver Vittorio Bares, driving a much newer and more powerful car.
Fortunately for Walkington, Bares was not eligible for Canadian Championship points because he was competing on a US license, not a Canadian one.
The battle between Walkington and Comens came to a premature end at the beginning of the second stage of the day. Comens' car suffered a driveline failure at the start line and his rally was over. Walkington now had to concentrate on maximizing his points to try and close up the gap to Comens in the championship. Over the second and third stages, Walkington opens his gap over the next P3 entrant, Gerard Seguin.
On the fourth stage, the gap dropped slightly, but it was enough that Walkington's second in class should have been safe going into the last stage. Unfortunately, he suffered a tire failure and had to change the tire on stage. Another car had stopped on stage and Walkington went wide to avoid it and struck a rock off of the road and damaged the left front tire. After driving several kilometers, the tire failed and had to be changed. This dropped Walkington back a position in class. He was third in class and added 6 points for second in the championship.
Steve Walkington, Driver: "The flat tire was disappointing, but it is satisfying to see that the work we've put into our 18 year old car has made it as fast and more reliable that many of the newer cars".
Alan Perry, Co-Driver: "Steve was pretty fast and smooth on Saturday. We could have been faster if the car had some more grunt, but I was still getting used to calling my own notes, so, actually, it was fast enough for me. Too bad we had the flat because Vittorio had a slow time on the last stage and we might have taken the class win."
The next Canadian National rally is the Rallye International de Charlevoix on 24-26 October.