Contact: Terry Epp
Tel: (905) 640-6444
Tel: (514) 279-3290
|Date: May 20, 2002|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RICHARD TAKES SECOND STRAIGHT WIN AND STRETCHES POINTS LEAD
EDSON, ALTA. - Pat Richard drove to a comfortable win in the Bighorn Rally in Alberta on Sunday and extended his overall lead in the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama.
It was the second straight win for the 28-year-old driver from Vancouver, whose first-ever career victory had come in the previous national event, the Rallye Perce-Neige Maniwaki in Quebec in February. "I can't believe I've won two in a row. I guess it means the last time was not a fluke," he said.
Driving a new factory-backed Subaru Impreza WRX - with more modifications than his previous model and an extra 50 horsepower - Richard finished one minute and 41 seconds ahead of second-placed Sylvain Erickson, of Gatineau, Que.
With Ian McCurdy, of Whistler, B.C., as his navigator, Richard was the fastest or equal-fastest driver on 14 of 16 special stages, the competitive portions of the event held on roads temporarily closed to the public. These were mostly forestry and oilfield roads near Edson, about 200 kilometres west of Edmonton.
Richard now has a commanding lead in the national championship with 50 points, compared to 30 for Erickson, after three of nine events.
"I tried my best to catch him, but he was just a little bit faster on every stage," said Erickson, the 1996 winner of the Bighorn, who was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer. "My car was perfect and I was trying to push Pat into making a mistake, but he didn't. He's a fast guy and he's got a fast car."
The tightest battle of the rally was for third place, which eventually went to Andrew Comrie-Picard, originally from nearby Edmonton, but now resident in New York. This was his second straight podium finish.
Comrie-Picard fought with Brian Scott, from Michigan, both driving Mitsubishi Lancers. Scott had the upper hand through most of the day, but Comrie-Picard moved ahead in the early evening and eventually finished 21 seconds ahead.
Richard's Subaru Canada team-mate, John Paynter, of Dartmouth, N.S., finished fifth, inheriting the position from Sylvain Vincent with two stages to go when the fuel pump failed on the Montreal-area driver's Subaru Impreza. Paynter also took top production class honors.
Gord Olsen, of Brooks, Alberta, was ninth overall in a VW GTI and won the Group 2 class for modified two-wheel-drive cars.
The smaller-engined production classes were won by Andrew Miller, of Toronto, 14th overall in a VW Golf; Michel Monette, of Peace River, Alberta, 18th in a Toyota Corolla; and Martin Wilson, of Vancouver, 22nd in Subaru Justy.
Two-time Western regional champion Janusz Komorowski, of Calgary, ran in the top five through the early stages, but then rolled his Eagle Talon. He has five days to repair the damage before the next rally, his hometown event.
The Rocky Mountain rally, round four of the championship, begins in Calgary on Friday (May 24) with a pair of special stages at the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park, starting at 7.30 p.m. The rally then resumes on Saturday in the Porcupine Hills of southwest Alberta.
Results of the BIGHORN RALLY
Round 3 of the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama
(Driver, Navigator, Car, Time)
1 Pat Richard, Vancouver, Ian McCurdy, Whistler, B.C., Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h14m52s
2 Sylvain Erickson, Philippe Erickson, Gatineau, Que., Mitsubishi Lancer, 1h16m33s
3 Andrew Comrie-Picard, New York, Dave Shindle, Virginia, Mitsubishi Lancer, 1h17m10s
4 Brian Scott, Michigan, David Watts, Ohio, Mitsubishi Lancer, 1h17m31s
5 John Paynter, Clarke Paynter, Dartmouth, N.S., Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h19m30s
6 Peter Thomson, Toronto, Rod Hendricksen, New Jersey, Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h20m23s
7 Joel Levac, Riviere Beaudette, Que., Eric Bourbonnais, St-Clet, Que., Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h22m46s
8 Harry Anderson, Mark Anderson, Pickering, Ont., Eagle Talon, 1h23m02s
9 Gord Olsen, Kathy Olsen, Brooks, Alta., VW GTI, 1h24m49s
10 Dave Koszegi, Port Alberni, B.C., Bill Westhead, Vancouver, Subaru Legacy, 1h25m11s
For further information:
Canadian Association of Rallysport
Terry Epp (905) 640-6444
David Hatter (514) 279-3290