A NATIONAL VICTORY FOR MITSUBISHI Maniwaki (Quebec), February 9, 2009.-- Quebec driver Antoine L'Estage, co-driven by Nathalie Richard, both from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (QC), didn't waste any time taking home a win in their brand new ...
A NATIONAL VICTORY FOR MITSUBISHI
Maniwaki (Quebec), February 9, 2009.-- Quebec driver Antoine L'Estage, co-driven by Nathalie Richard, both from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (QC), didn't waste any time taking home a win in their brand new Rockstar Royal Group Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X at the Rallye Perce Neige, the inaugural round of the 2009 Canadian Rally Championship.
Antoine L'Estage, who sat in the new car for the very first time only 12 hours before the start of the rally, was thrilled with the event's results : " it's truly an exceptional victory for us. With a newly built car, we'd normally expect teething problems. But not this time! Our Rockstar/Royal Group Evo X drove amazingly well in its first rally " explains the 2008 North American Champion. " We started the event at an easy pace. Our initial objective was to learn the car and to finish in a respectable position so we could earn important championship points " adds Antoine. Slowly, their goal changed as the duo saw the victory within reach.
As Antoine became more comfortable with the new car and quickened his pace, problems started plaguing the other top teams. " last year we lead every Canadian rally but bad luck prevented us from fighting for our third consecutive national title. This time, our luck changed. The opportunity arose for us to go for the win and we did ". Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard crossed the finish line 4 seconds ahead of the Erickson brothers to win their second Rallye Perce Neige in a row.
To win, L'Estage did not just need luck on his side -- skillful driving and the team's Yokohama tires enabled the team to bring the car home without a single scratch. " the Yokohama tires were once again exactly what I needed on these extremely difficult road surfaces of ice, snow, and freezing rain " commented L'Estage.
Nathalie Richard was also extremely pleased with the turn of events : " huge accolades go out to John Buffum and the entire crew for their hard work in building us this great new car. We first laid eyes on it on Friday night and then put it to the real test the next day! We couldn't have asked for anything more " exclaimed the co-driver.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X is the latest version of the Lancer Evo line, cars that are particularly efficient for rally competition around the world. For Antoine and Nathalie, two-time Canadian and North American champions, the results from Perce Neige leave them as favourites in the hunt for the 2009 title.
The Rocky Mountain Rally, round two of the Canadian series, takes place in Calgary, Alberta on May 29 -- 30. The team won this rally together in 2007 as well as once each with other partners.