Subaru Canadian Rally Championship presented by Yokohama. Round 4 of 2002 championship Rocky Mountain Rally Calgary, Alberta B.C. rally driver chases third straight win. CALGARY, ALTA. (May 22/2002) - British Columbia driver Pat Richard, ...
Subaru Canadian Rally Championship presented by Yokohama.
Round 4 of 2002 championship
Rocky Mountain Rally
B.C. rally driver chases third straight win.
CALGARY, ALTA. (May 22/2002) - British Columbia driver Pat Richard, who made his competition debut in the Rocky Mountain Rally in Alberta just three years ago, returns to the Calgary-based event this weekend as the man to beat.
The 28-year-old from Vancouver, who has had a lightning rise through the rally ranks, is coming off a pair of back-to-back wins and now finds himself with a strong lead in the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama.
With victories in last Sunday's Bighorn Rally out of Edson, Alberta, and the preceding Rallye Perce-Neige Maniwaki in Quebec, Richard has a total of 50 points, compared to 30 for second-placed Sylvain Erickson.
The Rocky Mountain, which begins in Calgary on Friday evening (May 24) and continues in the Porcupine Hills of southwest Alberta on Saturday, is round four of the nine-rally championship. Richard and navigator Ian McCurdy were second to team-mates, Tom McGeer and Mark Williams, on this event in 2001.
Richard has emerged as the leader of the factory Subaru Canada team following five-time champion McGeer's recent decision to cut back his schedule and spend more time with his young family. McGeer, winner of the season-opening Rallye de Quebec, plans to do only two more Canadian events this year.
Richard already has titles to his name. He was the Canadian production class champion in 2000, but this is his first time atop the overall standings. He has stepped up from his former production Subaru Impreza WRX to a "Group N" version, with more modifications and about 50 extra horsepower.
Mitsubishi Lancer driver Erickson, from Gatineau, Que., is again expected to be Richard's major challenger this weekend. He finished in second place last Sunday on the Bighorn, one minute and 41 seconds behind.
Other likely contenders include John Paynter, of Dartmouth, N.S., in the other factory Subaru Impreza; Sylvain Vincent, of La Plaine, Que., in a private Impreza; Andrew Comrie-Picard, a U.S.-domiciled Albertan, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer; and U.S. visitor Brian Scott, from Detroit, also in a Lancer.
Comrie-Picard, who hails from Edmonton but now lives in New York, is this season's top-ranked rookie - fourth in the overall standings - following a pair of third-place finishes in the past two events.
Another local favorite will be two-time Western regional champion Janusz Komorowski, of Calgary, although he has had a busy week, repairing his Eagle Talon after rolling the car on the Bighorn last weekend.
The Rocky Mountain Rally begins with a pair of special stages - the high-speed portions of the event on roads temporarily closed to the public - at the Blackfoot Motorcyle Park in southeast Calgary at 7.30 p.m. on Friday.
Competition resumes at 9.50 a.m. on Saturday at Wallace Outpost, about 170 kms. southwest of Calgary. About 160 kms. of special stages will be held in this area before the rally ends at the Skyline Ranch at 8 p.m.
The public will also have a chance to see the cars and meet the competitors prior to the rally in a display at the Eau Claire market in downtown Calgary from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday.