Contact: Terry Epp
Canadian Association of RallySport
|Date: February 4, 2007|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Maniwaki, Quebec – Toronto driver Andrew Comrie-Picard, with co-driver Marc Goldfarb (USA) has won the first round of the 2007 Canadian Rally Championship in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. This victory at Rallye Perce-Neige Maniwaki is also his first overall win in a Canadian national event. He leads Americans Matt Iorio and Ole Holter in a Subaru Impreza WRX and Quebeckers Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard in a Hyundai Tiburon 4WD.
This 2007 edition of the Perce-Neige will be remembered as one of the most hotly contested when positions in the lead and behind changed at nearly every stage, as competitors went off road or suffered mechanical mishaps on the snowy and icy roads of Haute-Gatineau area.
2006 champion driver Antoine L’Estage, from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (QC), led the first stage with a one second lead over his brother Mathieu and co-driver Yannick Napert in a Subaru. Unfortunately Mathieu’s off-road in the following stage took away all hopes of a family reunion at the top. Sylvain and Chloé Erickson (Gatineau, QC), for the first time in a Subaru, took the lead in the second stage, while Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard regained command of the rally on the third stage, by only one second, again! An intense battle for all teams went on.
An off-road mishap for Sylvain and Chloé Erickson would have taken them out of the rally if not for Bruno Carré and Yvan Joyal (fifth in a Subaru Impreza WRX), who stopped in the fifth stage to pull out the local heroes. Thus, L’Estage/Richard enjoyed a comfortable lead, ahead of Iorio/Holter and Comrie-Picard/Goldfarb. Having dropped to 17th position, 5 minutes behind the leaders, the Ericksons started their amazing comeback.
Faster than Iorio/Holter, Comrie-Picard/Goldfarb soon moved into second place, before taking the lead in the early evening, after L’Estage/Richard lost 9 minutes in a snow bank in the 9th stage.
Toward the end of the rally, the performances of L’Estage/Richard and the Ericksons kept the spectators in awe, but Andrew Comrie-Picard was the best on these treacherous roads despite lighting problems. For his first outing at a national event, in his new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, the Ontario driver couldn’t dream of a better result. He takes the lead in the championship.
Second and third places go to Iorio/Holter and L’Estage/Richard, who benefited a 10-minute penalty of Erickson on the last time control. Fifth place goes to Quebeckers Martin Gauvin and Daniel Duchesneau. Driving a Subaru Impreza WRX for the first time, Gauvin put up quite a show. They win Production 4 class.
Finally, 31 of the 41 starting teams finished the rally. American champion Travis Pastrana did not take the start. The next round of the Canadian Rally Championship will the Rocky Mountain Rally, in Calgary, on May 25 and 26. Filming for TV is provided by ATV Productions. For more information on the Canadian Rally Championship and rally events, please visit www.carsrally.ca.
Rallye Perce-Neige Maniwaki Final Results (complete results at www.rallyeperceneige.com):