Contact: Terry Epp
Tel: (905) 640-6444
Tel: (514) 279-3290
|Date: May 16, 2002|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
B.C. RALLY DRIVER LOOKS TO EXTEND HIS LEAD IN ALBERTA
EDSON, ALTA. - Pat Richard will be a man on a mission in Alberta this weekend. The 28-year-old driver from Whistler, B.C., has every chance to widen his overall points lead in the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama, as the series resumes after a three-month layoff.
Richard, who has 30 points from a pair of winter events in Quebec, goes to the Bighorn Rally, out of Edson on Sunday, knowing that his two main championship rivals - Jean-Sebastien Besner (27 points) and Tom McGeer (20) - have both chosen to skip this event (a driver can count only seven results in a season).
That means that any top-10 finish would allow Richard to extend his lead; a win would give the factory-backed Subaru Impreza WRX driver another 20 points.
But Richard, who won the last event, the Rallye Perce-Neige Maniwaki in February, is not necessarily going to have it easy in Alberta. Besner and McGeer may be staying home, but several other fast contenders have made the trek west, including Quebec drivers Sylvain Erickson and Sylvain Vincent.
Erickson, from Gatineau, who drives a Mitsubishi Lancer, took his first-ever win on the Bighorn in 1996. Vincent, who is a two-time national championship runner-up, is making the second start of his comeback after sitting out the 2001 season. He drives a privately-entered Subaru Impreza WRX.
This year's Bighorn has attracted a record entry of 33 cars. The Western contingent is headed by two-time regional champion Janusz Komorowski, of Calgary, in an Eagle Talon; Dave Koszegi, of Port Alberni, B.C., in a Subaru Legacy; and Gord Olsen, of Brooks, Alberta, in a VW Golf.
The one-day rally begins at 8 a.m. on Sunday (May 19) at Vision Park in the northeast corner of Edson, a community of 17,000 located some 200 kilometres west of Edmonton. Mayor Gary Mahon will be the official starter.
The 1.6-km. run around the park will be the first of the special stages, the competitive, high-speed portions of the event on roads temporarily closed to the public. Teams will then head northwards.
The special stages, mostly on forestry and oilfield roads to the north and southwest of Edson, make up 162.55 kms. out of a total rally distance of 486 kms. Teams are expected to return to Edson late in the evening.
This is the 20th edition of the Bighorn Rally, which began as a regional event in 1983 and has been part of the national championship since 1991. It is the first of two back-to-back events in Alberta, to be followed by the Rocky Mountain Rally, out of Calgary, next Saturday (May 25).
For further information:
Canadian Association of Rallysport
Terry Epp (905) 640-6444
David Hatter (514) 279-3290