Tall Pines season finale preview

MANUFACTURERS' TITLE TO BE DECIDED Stouffville, ON, November 21, 2006.- The 2006 season of the Canadian Rally Championship will end this weekend with the traditional presentation of the Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft,...

MANUFACTURERS' TITLE TO BE DECIDED

Stouffville, ON, November 21, 2006.- The 2006 season of the Canadian Rally Championship will end this weekend with the traditional presentation of the Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ontario.

Even if the battle for the Drivers' championship will be won when Antoine L'Estage takes the start, this event will still be one of high intensity because there is nothing set in the Manufacturers' championship: Hyundai is leading by 75 points with Subaru right behind at 72 points and Mitsubishi at 59 points!

Second at Rallye Defi last September, Andrew Comrie-Picard (Toronto, ON) and American co-driver Marc Goldfarb (Atkinson, NH) in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4 are the most serious contender. Although very fast, Comrie-Picard is still in search of a first win in the Canadian championship. Winning this Tall Pines would also be a nice way to finish the season.

Again this year, the team many are cheering for is Antoine L'Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard, from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (QC), in their Hyundai Tiburon 4WD. Winner of three of the five previous events, L'Estage feels no pressure about the title since his main opponent, American Matthew Iorio, will not be at the start, after suffering heavy damage to his car during a rally in Michigan in October. So Antoine will secure the championship win just by taking the start, but he will be competing for the rally win, for sure.

Tall Pines also lists two Canadian multi-champion teams with Frank Sprongl (Georgetown, ON) and co-driver Brian Maxwell (Port Hope, ON) in a Suzuki Swift +, a 2-wheel-drive car that is always spectacular to watch when Sprongl is driving; and Jean-Paul Perusse (Montreal, QC) with co-driver Martin Headland (Caledon, ON) in a Misubishi Lancer Evo 6. Also on the starting line, for the first time in a Canadian Rally Championship event, will be Champ Car Atlantic and Rolex Grand-Am driver Antoine Bessette (Knowlton, QC), co-driven by Geneviève Rocray (Knowlton, QC) in a Volkswagen Golf GTI.

The 31 teams (24 from Ontario, 6 from Quebec and 1 from the United States) will leave Bancroft on Saturday morning for a series of special stages in the surrounding forests. Traditionally, Tall Pines has been a rally with winter roads and summer ditches. While for the last few years, roads were muddy, last year, they were covered in snow. So the teams must be ready for anything and everything for the final event of the year.

Inside Track Magazine will be offering spectators the official program of the event at rally headquarters in Bancroft. ATV Productions will film the event. Information on the Canadian Rally Championship and other rally competitions in Canada can be found at www.carsrally.ca. To get live results during the weekend, check www.rallyscoring.com

-credit: cars

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