|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2013
|Contact: Terry Epp
National Series Manager
Canadian Association of RallySport
INVERMERE, BC — The fifth of six events in the 2013 Canadian Rally Championship Presented by Subaru and Supported by Yokohama took place this past weekend in British Columbia at the Rocky Mountain Rally, an event that challenged competitors with a brand new route in the area around Invermere. But even though the environment was new to the competitors, the overall winner was very familiar as Antoine L’Estage took his fourth consecutive victory of the season and took the lead in the Driver’s Championship.
Over two days of competition on Friday and Saturday, this year’s Rocky Mountain Rally was dominated from start to finish by the duo of Antoine L’Estage (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) and his Welsh co-driver Craig Parry. The Rockstar Rally Team won all of the timed stages of the rally to finish with a comfortable margin of almost ten minutes over the next-closest finisher. But there was nothing easy about their victory as difficult weather conditions made the route extremely treacherous with ice and freezing rain and made just finishing the rally a serious challenge.
One of the many teams that fell foul of the tricky conditions was the Subaru Team Canada duo of Patrick Richard (Squamish, BC) and Rob Fagg (Isle of Man, UK) who went into the event in the lead of the Driver’s Championship but were caught out by an exceptionally tricky corner on the second stage and crashed out of the rally. L’Estage’s win means he now has a 15-point lead in the Championship over rival Richard.
The subsequent battle for second place overall in the rally was terrific, with Albertans Hardy Schmidtke and John Hall resisting a challenge from Vancouverite Max Riddle and co-driver Darren Garrod in their Subaru to finish second and third respectively, with less than a threesecond margin between the teams after both suffered flat tires on the last stages. Fourth place went to novice driver Alex Kozlov (Calgary, Alberta) and co-driver Martin Matas, who themselves were less than ten seconds off the podium.
Carl Decker and Adam Craig completed the top five, one spot ahead of the winners in the Production 4WD class, Albertans Wim Van der Poel and Bryan Lord.
This edition of the Rocky Mountain rally marked the 40th anniversary of the event, and for the occasion the organizers convinced the multi-time Canadian Champion (1977-78-79-80-82) Taisto Heinonen to return to competition behind the wheel of a 1986 Toyota Corolla, a vehicle similar to his former Championship car. With former Subaru Canada co-driver Leanne Junilla, Heinonen showed that his talent and aggression are still intact by winning the 2WD category and taking 11th overall with an inspired drive that saw them overhaul Americans Dave Clark and Billy Irvin in their Merkur XR4Ti on the very last stage of the rally.
Third place in 2WD went to Paul Hartl and Chuck Storry from Ontario who sealed the 2013 Canadian Championship for Drivers in the 2WD class with the finish. Jeff Tooth and Brian Sexsmith took the class victory in Production 2WD.
The next battle in the Canadian Rally Championship will be fought in the forests of northern Ontario on November 29th and 30th in the Rally of the Tall Pines. The event is known for tricky weather conditions and fast roads with many jumps. Both L’Estage and Richard have won here on numerous occasions, and both will be flat out to claim overall victory in the 2013 Canadian Rally Championship.
Rocky Mountain Rally 2013, Top 10:
Two-Wheel Drive Podium:
Detailed results available at rockymountainrally.com
The Canadian Assocation of RallySport (CARS) is the official sanctioning body of rally competitions in Canada. For more information, see www.carsrally.ca; for more on the Rocky Mountain Rally, see www.rockymountainrally.com
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Twitter: @CRCrally #cdnrally