ANTOINE L'ESTAGE TO X GAMES 13 IN L.A. Montreal, Quebec, July 17. -- Entering the New England Forest Rally last weekend in the State of Maine, Antoine L'Estage had in mind to clinch the last berth available on the rally roster for the Summer X...
ANTOINE L'ESTAGE TO X GAMES 13 IN L.A.
Montreal, Quebec, July 17. -- Entering the New England Forest Rally last weekend in the State of Maine, Antoine L'Estage had in mind to clinch the last berth available on the rally roster for the Summer X Games 13 to be held in early August in Los Angeles. The defending Canadian champion was partnered again with long-time codriver Mark Williams in the sixth round of the Rally America series against the best rally teams in North America. Driving his usual John Buffum prepared Hyundai Tiburon on the forest roads around Bethel, Maine, L'Estage was the strongest competition for eventual winner Travis Pastrana, losing by a mere seven seconds over ten special stages. They outright won three stages and were second on six occasions. Their overall second place earned them a spot among the twelve invited teams that will compete in the coming Summer X Games, known as an Olympic sibling for extreme sports.
" We're very happy with our last outing in Maine and our invitation to the X Games, mentionned the defending Canadian champion. Only 12 drivers in the world will earn such a spot and I'm very excited to be one of them. Mark and I had a pretty strong drive. It would have been nice to win but to be second just seven seconds away from an outright win and to clinch an X Games berth is no small feat. I will be in LA in three weeks with Nathalie (Richard) as co-driver. Mark had to fill in since she is ESPN TV host for Rally America."
" The X Games in California fits in really well in our schedule, he adds. Our next event in Canada is Defi Ste-Agathe-Montpellier in September. We plan to be on the podium in L.A. The X Games is the new pinnacle in our sport, there is an interesting 100 000 $ available, but above all, we showcase our sport to millions of TV fans and thousands on location, we draw international media attention."
A near perfect Maine Forest
The name of the event has changed but the forest roads are still very fast. Out of the ten speed sections, L'Estage and Williams had three best times and were second fastest on six more occasions. "Teaming with Mark is always fun, says L'Estage. He is so cool and reads pacenotes with perfect timing. We had not worked together in more than a year and I felt we had never stopped. We were trying to get that wild card for the X Games. I think we could have closed that seven second gap if we had attacked a bit more!"
X Games, an international event
The Hyundai Tiburon will be back at Libra Racing, John Buffum's workshop in Vermont, for a partial overhaul. Then the team will cross the continent to California for the X Games 13 to be held from August 2nd to the 5th. X Games are now held twice a year, in summer and winter. The coming games will showcase skateboard, moto x, bmx, surf and rally. The X Games are seen in 180 countries by millions of spectators mainly through ESPN. Rally Car Racing will be aired August 5 on ABC from 4:30 to 6:00 PM EST.
Antoine L'Estage is the 2006 Canadian rally champion and currently leads the 2007 standings.