L'Estage in LeBlanc's backyard!
Stouffville, Ontario, October 10, 2006.-- This coming weekend, the Canadian Rally Championship will present its penultimate round of the 2006 season, with the Pacific Forest Rally, in Merritt, BC. This rally could very well decide the overall championship should Quebec driver Antoine L'Estage win again. Finishing first at Perce-Neige, Rocky Mountain and Defi Ste-Agathe/Duhamel rallies earlier this season, only the Baie-des-Chaleurs Rally slipped away from L'Estage in his Hyundai Tiburon 4WD. Americans Matthew Iorio and Ole Holter won that round in their Subaru Impreza WRX.
Sylvain Erickson, actually second in the standings, will not enter this event in order to focus entirely on preparing his new Subaru Impreza WRX. He hopes to win the championship in 2007 with this new car. L'Estage doesn't really need to win the Pacific Forest Rally to clinch the 2006 championship, but if Matthew Iorio should win the rally, L'Estage needs to finish second to win the championship. With L'Estage finishing with any other result, the championship would then be decided at the last round held in Ontario at the end of November.
Winner of the Pacific Forest Rally in 2005, Antoine L'Estage, from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, will again team up with Nathalie Richard, from Halifax, NS. She also won this event in 2004. The PFR 2006 has many other highlights, as the rally offers great opportunities for spectacular driving. Based in Merritt, northeast of Vancouver, this rally has been part of Canadian motorsport history for a long time. Many renowned drivers have won this event since the early 1970s. Again this year, the sometimes slippery special stages in the mountain dirt roads will allow no mistake.
Third hopeful for victory after L'Estage and Iorio is Vancouver driver Norm LeBlanc, with co-driver Keith Morison (from Calgary, AB). LeBlanc will be leading many teams from western Canada and the U.S. Among them are Paul Eklund/Jeff Price, American competitors in a Subaru Impreza WRX and Albertans Zebe Szewczyk/Tomasz Karzynski in a Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. More than 30 teams are expected to be at the start Friday, October 13, at 5:30 PM, in Merritt. The second leg will take place on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.