" IT WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN ONE DAY ! " Calgary (Alberta), May 25 2008 -- Leading the national championship when the Rocky Mountain Rally started this weekend, driver Antoine L'Estage and his co-driver Nathalie Richard from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu...
" IT WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN ONE DAY ! "
Calgary (Alberta), May 25 2008 -- Leading the national championship when the Rocky Mountain Rally started this weekend, driver Antoine L'Estage and his co-driver Nathalie Richard from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu Quebec, were forced to retire due to mechanical problems they encountered on the third stage. The team was leading the rally up until their retirement.
The duo from Quebec started the event in the best way possible, winning the first two stages and earning a lead of 30 seconds. " The third stage, the 35 kilometer Powderface, was the longest of the weekend. We were on track to set a pretty good time on that stage when our gas pedal got stuck to the floor for about 3 kilometers of competition. Despite this, and the challenges that accompanied it, I was able to keep the car on the road without losing too much time " explains Antoine L'Estage. The two-time Canadian Champion (2006 & 2007) adds : " it all went wrong two corners from the end of the stage when we lost our front left wheel ".
The wheel and tire were completely intact but had been sheared off at the studs. Without studs on the car, the L'Estage/Richard duo was unable to attach their spare tire to complete the 80km road section to the next checkpoint. " We tried to make it back to our service crew but such a long way on three wheels was pointless. Even with Nathalie trying to disperse weight to the opposite corner of the car, we knew we were going to cause too much damage to our Tiburon if we continued. A spectator returned our wheel to us, tire inflated and two studs and lug nuts still attached " indicated Antoine. Despite the double incident on Powderface, the team managed to win the stage, therefore coming away with a perfect win record for the three stages they competed in. Had they been able to complete the final road section, they would have had a minute lead over eventual winner Pat Richard.
It was the first mechanical retirement for Antoine L'Estage in the Canadian championship since July 2006. " It was bound to happen one day! Nearly two years without mechanical failure is almost a record in this high level of extreme rally conditions. Our Royal Group Yokohama Tiburon remains an extremely competitive car and I can't take anything away from my service crew, who regularly accomplish miracles. Essentially, a stud must've broken at some point during the stage, putting too much pressure on the remaining studs, which slowly but surely also broke off. " concludes the Quebec driver.
Upcoming rally: Pennsylvania next week.
In less than two weeks, Antoine L'Estage, Nathalie Richard and their Coyote Rallye Team head to the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. L'Estage/Richard will attempt to come home with a second victory of three starts in the 2008 Rally America series, the main United States rally championship.
Next Canadian event:
The next round of the Canadian Rally Championship will be held on June 27th and 28th when the series returns to Quebec for the Rally Baie-des-Chaleurs in Gaspe. Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard have already twice won this extremely popular rally.
-credit: coyote rallye