Rally of the Tall Pines preview

The Last Crusade of the Season Stouffville (Ontario), November 20, 2007. This coming Saturday, in Bancroft (ON), 44 teams will line up for the Rally of the Tall Pines, last round of the Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Subaru ...

The Last Crusade of the Season

Stouffville (Ontario), November 20, 2007. This coming Saturday, in Bancroft (ON), 44 teams will line up for the Rally of the Tall Pines, last round of the Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Subaru and Castrol. Besides the two contenders for the title, Quebecker Antoine L'Estage and Ontarian Andrew Comrie-Picard, there will be many well-known drivers taking the start.

Favorite to win the event and the championship for a second year in a row, Antoine L'Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard (both from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC), in a Hyundai Tiburon 4WD, holds a 15 point lead on Andrew Comrie-Picard (Toronto, ON) and American co-driver Marc Goldfarb, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. To win the championship, Comrie-Picard and Goldfarb must win the event while L'Estage/Richard finishes no better than 7th. So far this year, both teams have always finished on the podium.

The final battle for the overall championship may be the main feature, but it will not be the only highlight of this event. The Rally of the Tall Pines, the only Ontario event in the Canadian Championship, is posting the most remarkable list of entries seen in the last 10 years. 2005 champions Peter Thomson (Toronto, ON) and Rod Hendricksen (New Jersey, USA) are back for a second national event this year, in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8. Third at Defi Ste-Agathe/Duhamel this past September, Peter Thomson is again aiming for a podium to end his comeback year on a high note.

Third in the championship behind L'Estage and Comrie-Picard, and about to win Production 4 class, Martin Gauvin/Daniel Duchesneau (New-Richmond, QC) will be running their first Tall Pines, as will Craig Henderson and Lyne Murphy (Saint-Constant, QC), the surprise of the 2007 season. Both teams run in Subaru Impreza WRXs.

Six times Canadian Champion, Frank Sprongl (Georgetown, ON) and Brian Maxwell (Port Hope, ON), also in a Lancer, are taking part in their first rally this year. Frank has written much of Canadian rally history and is entered with one desire and that is to win, just like Americans Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino, members of Team Subaru USA, who will take part in their first Canadian rally ever. Of course, they will run an Impreza WRX STi and if the roads are not covered in snow and ice, should be considered front runners to win the event.

Among other notables also expected, Rejean Losier (Blainville, QC) and Philippe Poirier (Saint-Alphonse, QC) will sport a new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, while Maine team John Cassidy and Dave Getchell will ride in an open class Subaru Impreza WRX STi.

After finishing 5th at Defi, Ontarian John Vanos and new co-driver Jeff Secor, also in a Subaru Impreza WRX STi, will try to score another top 5. Finally, in Group 5, Ontarians Martin Walter and Ken Lagarec (Nissan 240SX) will take part in the show, even if they have already secured their class title.

The 2007 Rally of the Tall Pines will get underway this coming Saturday at 9:00 AM, in Bancroft. There will be 15 special stages and the first cars should be back around 10:00 PM. Competitors are expecting mud and snow on these treacherous and twisty gravel roads.

-credit: www.carsrally.ca

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