Contact: Lawrence Partington
|Date: July 5, 2003|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Richmond, Que., Canada - Vancouver's Patrick Richard and co-driver Ian McCurdy of Whistler drove their Subaru WRX STi to a convincing victory in the 26th annual Baie des Chaleurs Rally here on Saturday afternoon. The rally, Round 6 in the Canadian Rally Championship presented by Subaru and Yokohama, attracted 43 teams from across North America. It was the first North American victory for the new Subaru STi, a car that only went on sale last month.
In a sport usually decided by just seconds, Richard's huge winning margin of 4 minutes and 7 seconds was actually misleading. New York's Andrew Comrie-Picard and Marc Goldfard were leading the rally in their Mitsubishi EVO 4 on Friday night when they suffered a flat tire on the fourth stage. The pair had to stop and change the wheel, losing 4 minutes right there. Despite being the fastest on nearly every stage today, Comrie-Picard could never make up that deficit.
Finishing third in a less powerful production class car was the brother and sister team of Julien and Marie-Eve Pilon from Brownsburg-Chatham, QC. They beat much more experienced drivers in more powerful cars with their 2002 Subaru WRX.
Two teams that were expected to contend for victory went out early with mechanical failures. Sylvain Erickson from Gatineau retired with transmission failure on his Yokohoma Mitsubishi on special stage 2. Antoine L'Estage of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu retired with rear differential problems on the same stage. The Canadian series resumes in Ste-Agathe on September 6.
For Patrick Richard, the defending Canadian Champion and only North American on the World Rally Championship circuit, it was a return to form. By his standards it has been a miserable season. Today's victory and another in Quebec City in March counter-balance non-finishes in Mexico, New Zealand, Argentina, British Columbia and Cyprus. He's now back in contention to defend his Canadian championship. The professional rally driver now has a rare two-week break before reconnaisance begins for Rally Deutschland on July 22.
Results of the Rallye Baie des Chaleurs
(Driver, Navigator, Car, Time
1 Patrick Richard - Ian McCurdy (Subaru Impreza STi) 1h50m51s
2 Andrew Comrie-Picard - Marc Goldfarb (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4) 1h54M58s
3 Julien Pilon - Marie-Eve Pilon (Subaru Impreza WRX) 1h57m38s
4 Rejean Losier - Art Losier (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) 2h00m26s
5 Randy Zimmer - Mal Swann (Subaru Impreza RS) 2h01m57s
6 John Paynter - E.Clarke Paynter (Subaru Impreza WRX) 2h02m10s
7 Mathieu L'Estage - Hugues Cyr (Eagle Talon TSi) 2h04m08s
8 Janis Lavoie - Stephane Simard (Eagle Talon TSi) 2h04m43s
9 Steve Barnes - Melanie Kelly (Audi 90 Quattro) 2h09m36s
10 Jacques L'Estage - B.Gilles Lacroix (Subaru Impreza STi) 2h11m28s