Battle for the championship is still open-- Matthew Iorio scores his first Canadian win! New Richmond, QC -- July 2, 2006 -- Just about a month after their first overall victory in an American event, American driver Matthew Iorio...
Battle for the championship is still open--
Matthew Iorio scores his first Canadian win!
New Richmond, QC -- July 2, 2006 -- Just about a month after their first overall victory in an American event, American driver Matthew Iorio and co-driver Ole Holter in a Subaru Impreza WRX, won their first Canadian overall event at the Baie des Chaleurs Rally, after a number of surprises.
Bogged down in the dirt roads turned muddy after last week's heavy rains, the participants to the Baie des Chaleurs 2006 edition had no easy rides. After the first leg on Friday night, Iorio/Holter were third, behind favorite teams L'Estage/Williams and the Erickson father/daughter team.
There were two decisive special stages. In the fifth stage, L'Estage/Williams were leading the rally with over 30 seconds when their hopes of winning a second year in a row went out: they had broken a suspension link in their Hyundai Tiburon 4WD. Sylvain and Chloe Erickson, in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4, then took command of the rally but in the following stage, they went off-road wasting 15 minutes to get back on the road. After a wild chase, they finished in sixth place.
With the leaders of the championship out of the race, Iorio not only controlled the rally but scored best times repeatedly and won the event with a 7-minute lead!
Again, the large crowd that had gathered along the roads of this famous rally, a success symbol of Canadian rallying, could cheer the feats of a local team. Martin Gauvin/Daniel Duchesneau, in a Toyota MR-2, became the underdog and were second after the first leg. Unfortunately, an off-road forced them to abandon and it's another American team who finished second, Tim Penasak and co-driver Marc Golddfarb, in a Subaru Impreza WRX.
Brother and sister Mathieu L'Estage and Laurence-Fanny L'Estage complete the top three making the podium 100% Subaru! They are followed by Frank Sprongl and Brian Maxwell, in their Suzuki Swift+, the fastest team in 2WD, and the Labrie/Guite team, in their Honda Civic, first in Group 2.
In the Championship standings, Antoine L'Estage now has only a one-point lead over Sylvain Erickson (45 to 44). Matthew Iorio is now third with 36 points, ahead of Frank Sprongl (29) and Norm LeBlanc (20).
The next rally will also take place in Quebec on September 8 and 9. It will be Rallye Defi Ste-Agathe/Duhamel. For more information on rallying and rally events, please visit the Canadian Association of Rallysport website, at www.carsrally.ca.