ANTOINE L'ESTAGE SETS NEW WIN RECORD AT RALLYE DEFI, PAT RICHARD TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD MONTPELLIER, QUEBEC, SEPTEMBER 11, 2010 Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard (Ste-Jean- sur-Richelieu, QC) of the Rockstar team won the 2010 Rallye Defi,...
ANTOINE L'ESTAGE SETS NEW WIN RECORD AT RALLYE DEFI, PAT RICHARD TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
MONTPELLIER, QUEBEC, SEPTEMBER 11, 2010 Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard (Ste-Jean- sur-Richelieu, QC) of the Rockstar team won the 2010 Rallye Defi, making this L'Estage's fifth victory at the event, more than any other driver. The Rallye Defi is the fourth round of the Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Subaru and supported by Yokohama.
"We had just a few small problems with the brakes on Friday, but we pushed hard and set good stage times and that's where the rally was won," said L'Estage, who has already won both the 2010 Rally America championship and the 2010 North American Rally Cup. "After that we had a good lead we were able to manage and everything was great with the car."
L'Estage and Richard suffered a blow to their championship hopes at the previous event, making a win at Rallye Defi a virtual requirement in any bid on the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship. Despite the win, the pair are sitting second place in the points standings, three points back from the lead.
Pat Richard (Squamish, BC) and Alan Ockwell (Toronto) of Subaru Rally Team Canada have taken over the championship lead with their second place finish at Rallye Defi. A flat tire early in the event cost the team valuable time that they were unable to claw back after minor problems struck the car late on the second day.
"We're always looking for as many points as possible, and fight for the win," said Richard. "We're leading the championship and it's a great result."
Third place went to Craig Henderson and Lyne Murphy (New Richmond, QC) of Team Swap Shop.
"We had a really good rally going, with a good fight until we had a flat tire," said Henderson. "I am really happy with the performance."
Bruno Carre and Yvan Joyal (Laval, QC), also of Team Swap Shop came into the Rallye Defi leading the championship, but the team suffered mechanical problems that forced the team's retirement with just four stages remaining.
"We had a problem and the engine was down on three cylinders, and when I tried to fix it, the car dropped to two cylinders, and we were out," said Carre. "It's a really sad feeling, the guys worked really hard on the car, and it felt great until we had a problem." An extremely tight battle took place in two wheel drive, with Simon Dube (Jonquière, QC) and Pat Levigne (Montreal) edging their rivals by just two seconds after more than 150kms of competitive stages.
"I'm very proud of the whole team, and the fight right to the end," said Dube, who had been trading seconds with rivals through the entire rally. "I went into the last stage, Jarnac, and knew I had to push very hard, and I ended up winning by just two seconds."
Two wheel drive regulars Jan and Jody Zedril (Winnipeg) finished second in two wheel drive, while veteran competitors Sylvain and Simon Vincent finished a close third.
The 2010 edition of the Rallye Defi featured an expanded schedule with more stages than previous years. Typically rough road conditions had been tamed somewhat, making the event easier on the competitors. Big crowds came out to watch the cars while teams and fans alike enjoyed ideal weather conditions.
"We're very happy with the event this year," said B.Gilles Lacroix, "Welongtime organiser of the Rallye Defi. made some changes over the "Weprevious editions that have worked out really well for everyone."
The penultimate round of the Canadian Rally Championship, the Pacific Forest Rally, takes place in the mountains surrounding Merritt, BC, October 1-2, 2010. The event features fast smooth roads, but unpredictable weather that can run the gamut from hot and sunny in the valley floor to cold and snowy on the mountain stages. Only seven points separate the top four teams in the championship standings, leaving no room for error at the remaining events of the season.
The Canadian Rally Championship is comprised of six events held nationwide in a season that extends from February to November. The series is presented by Subaru Canada, supported by Yokohama Tire Canada and features contingency programs from Subaru Canada and Mitsubishi Canada. The Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS) is the official sanctioning body for rallying in Canada.
Rally car racing is often described simply as "real cars, real roads, real fast." The all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over closed-road courses that typically cover more than 150 kilometers of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads. Fans can get up close to the cars in the service areas and catch all the action from specially designated spectator points located at the best spots on the route.