4TH VICTORY FOR ANTOINE L'ESTAGE AND NATHALIE RICHARD
Merritt (British-Columbia), October 20, 2008 - At the wheel of the 4WD Royal Group Yokohama Hyundai Tiburon, Quebec driver Antoine L'Estage, co-driven by Nathalie Richard, won this past weekend's Pacific Forest Rally in British Columbia. This victory gives the duo from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu their fourth of the year and enough points to remain atop the leader board of the North American Rally Championship.
Once again, with the anticipation of a fierce dual between championship points leader Patrick Richard and two-time defending Canadian Champion, Antoine L'Estage, the penultimate rally of the 2008 calendar was hotly contested. Antoine and Nathalie were virtually untouchable, leading the competitive stages for the entire 155km. " This is a good victory for us. With only one rally left in the North American Rally Cup, we are in a good position to defend our title. We're coming away from this weekend really positive about our chances " explains Antoine. He adds : " I also want to congratulate Patrick Richard, his co-driver Alan Ockwell, and their entire team for clinching the Canadian Championship here this weekend ".
Snow was not a factor at this year's Pacific Forest Rally, but mud and constantly changing conditions made for tricky road surfaces. Antoine L'Estage was not too affected : " we pushed hard enough to take the lead from the start on Friday night, which we then just had to manage on Saturday. Everything was going well until we encountered some mechanical problems in the morning. We lost some time but our lead was large enough that we were able to take the victory regardless " mentions Antoine. " Our mechanics are an integral part of our team and they did an incredible job at each service. They earn huge accolades from me, as does Nathalie, who did another great job at my side " he concludes.
" Our mechanical bad luck at the Rallye Defi cost us the chance to defend our Canadian Championship title but we proved that we can get past that and come back fighting. Our objective now is to win the North American Rally Championship at the Rally of the Tall Pines next month " indicates Nathalie Richard.
Conclusion of the 2008 season in November
The last round of the 2008 Canadian Rally Championship and the North American Rally Cup is set for November 22nd. Bancroft, Ontario will host the Rally of the Tall Pines, a popular event amongst competitors and spectators alike. Antoine L'Estage won this rally with Yanick Napert in 2004, Nathalie Richard won with John Buffum in 2005, and together Antoine and Nathalie were victorious in 2006 and 2007.