La Malbaie (Québec, Canada), October 27, 2000 (8 :00 PM).- It's under an unusually balmy weather (Indian Summer) that the 14th edition of Rallye international de Charlevoix Export "A" 2000 became an instant success with the mesmerizing battle in the top ranks between Canadian and European drivers.
Winner of the first stage, American John Buffum, last year's winner, lost all hopes of victory in the second stage, on the forest roads north of La Malbaie, when his Hyundai Tiburon 4WD hit a bridge and lost the left rear wheel. Canadian Tom McGeer moved into the lead. Born in Lac Saint-Jean, the region north of Charlevoix, McGeer not only won the second stage, but also won all the other stages of the day, showing superior craftsmanship in his Subaru Impreza WRX, and finished a full minute ahead of Belgian Bob Colsoul on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5. Colsoul is leading the European delegation who came to run the event, entered for the first time on the FIA international calendar. Regular participant in the World Rally Championship, Bob Colsoul has always remained quick and regular all through the five stages. He is leading the first Quebecer, Sylvain Vincent, Québec champion, on his subaru Imprezza WRX, by 38 seconds.
Trailing Vincent by only 2.8 seconds young upcoming Belgian star driver François Duval, who is participating for the first time in a dirt road rally, truly showed his driving skills for his first appearance in North America. He leads Erik comas, who has also been among the leaders right from the start. The former F1 driver is running his 4th rally ever in Charlevoix, on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4 sponsored by Guideauto/Francite.com.
Rounding the top 10 are Frank and Dan Sprongl (on a Ford Escort Cosworth in replacement of the Audi Quattro S2), Jon Nichols (on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5), Americans Thomas Lawless (on a Civic Experimental Group 2) and Brian Scott (Eagle Talon) and Canadian Patrick Richard on a Subaru Impreza RS.
The second day of Rallye International de Charlevoix will start tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM and will run in the forest zones between Charlevoix and Saguenay regions. Many of these stages are said the be car-breakers and the weather forecast looks less bright with possibility of rain or snow.
<pre> CURRENT OVERALL STANDINGS...
1) Tom McGeer - Mark Williams (CDN)(Subaru Impreza WRX) 49'07,8 2) Bob Colsoul - Tom Colsoul (BEL)(Mitsubishi Lancer Évolution 5) 50'08,9 3) Sylvain Vincent - Dominuque Cyr (CDN)(Subaru Impreza WRX) 50'47,3 4) François Duval - Bruno Brissart (BEL)(Mitsubishi Lancer Évolution 5) 50'50,1 5) Érik Comas - Jean-Paul Terrasse (FRA)(Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4) 51'41,7 6) Frank Sprongl - Dan Sprongl (CDN)(Ford Escort Cosworth) 51'47,0 7) Jon Nichols - Michael Koch (CDN)(Mitsubishi Lancer Évolution 5) 54'20,1 8) Thomas Lawless (USA)(Honda Civic Experimental Gr.2) 55'00,0 9) Brian Scott - David Watts (USA)(Eagle Talon TSi) 55'01,0 10) Patrick Richard - Nathalie Richard (CDN)(Subaru Impreza RS) 55'01,3 11) Vicente Frontinan - Luis Texeira (USA)(Mitsubishi Lancer Évolution 4) 55'05,0 12) Seamus Burke - Frank Cunningham (USA)(Mitsubishi Lancer Ev.3) 55'14,3 13) Paul Ordanis - Ross Wood (CDN)(BMW 325 IX) 58'43,8 14) Scott Comens - Harry Pressey (CDN)(Chrysler Neon) 59'01,3 15) Robert Vinet - Don Derose (CDN)(Subaru Legacy GT) 59'23,6
Competitors at the start of Leg 1 (National and international Ranking) : 51. Competitors at the finish of Leg 1 : 30. Retirements : 21.
Leader in Open Class : Tom McGeer (Canada, 1st overall) Leader in Group N : Bob Colsoul (Belgium, 2nd overall) Leader in Group 2 : Thomas Lawless (United States, 8th overall) Leader in Production GT : Brian Scott (United States, 9th overall) Leader in Production 1750 : Boris Lantsman (Canada, 28th overall)