Contact: Paul Westwick|
Tel: (604) 707-3305
|Date: May 18, 2003|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Edson, Alta., Canada - Veteran Canadian rally driver Tom McGeer started the Canadian Rally Championship's three-race western swing with a hard-fought victory in the 20th annual Makita Bighorn Rally.
Racing a Subaru WRX for the Canadian factory team, McGeer and British co-driver Howard Davies covered the event's 19 special stages in 1 hour 37 minutes and 9 seconds. That was 39 seconds faster than the Mitsubishi team of Edmonton native Andrew Comrie-Picard and American Marc Goldbarb. Finishing third was Calgarian Janusz Komorowski driving an Eagle Talon with Malcolm Swann from Charlottetown, PEI.
The extremely fast, rock-covered roads took a heavy toll on the top teams. The top Quebec drivers, Hyundai's Antoine L'Estage and Yokohama-Mitsubishi's Sylvain Erickson, both retired on the first day of competition. Erickson from Gatineau, Quebec, won the rally's first special stage on Saturday night to take the early lead, but was forced to retire with a blown engine on stage 2. Then the rally turned into a three-way fight between McGeer, Comrie-Picard and Canadian Champ Patrick Richard. Richard had a lead of five seconds going into stage 11, but a tire blew at high speed and damaged the car's wiring harness, forcing retirement.
Richard is the only North American driver competing regularly in the World Rally Championship. Already this season the Subaru star has raced in Mexico, Sweden, New Zealand and just last weekend in Argentina. He was driving a brand new 2004 WRX STi for the first time here in Edson.
Entering the third round of the 2003 Canadian Rally series, defending North American champion McGeer had only managed a fourth place finish in two previous events, but he leaves Edson leading the Championship by two points over Comrie-Picard.
The circuit moves to Calgary next weekend for the Rocky Mountain Rally and then two weeks later to Meritt, BC.
For further information www.bighornrally.com