Contact: Terry Epp
Tel: (905) 640-6444
Tel: (514) 279-3290
|Date: September 7, 2002|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RICHARD TAKES THIRD WIN OF YEAR TO EXTEND POINTS LEAD
STE-AGATHE, QUE. - Vancouver rally driver Pat Richard raced to his third victory of the season at the Defi Ste-Agathe/Duhamel in the Laurentian mountains north of Montreal on Saturday.
Driving a factory Subaru Impreza WRX, Richard finished 42 seconds ahead of Jon Nichols, of Lachine, Que., in a privately-entered WRX.
Richard's win extended his lead in the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama. After six of nine rounds, he has a 23-point advantage, 85-62, over Sylvain Erickson. The 28-year-old from Vancouver is seeking his first overall Canadian title (although he won the production class in 2000).
Erickson, of Gatineau, Que., finished third in a Mitsubishi Lancer - a minute and 13 seconds behind Nichols - while Sylvain Vincent, of La Plaine, Que., was fourth in another Impreza WRX, a further 27 seconds back.
With Ian McCurdy as navigator, Richard covered 156.81 kilometres of special stages - the competitive portions of the rally on gravel roads temporarily closed to the public - in one hour, 38 minutes, 11 seconds, for an average speed of 95.83 km/h.
This was the first time the Defi Ste-Agathe/Duhamel, previously a regional event, had counted for the Canadian championship.
"It's a wonderful rally, but really tough. This is my finest victory," said Richard, who enjoyed his fight with Nichols, the early leader on Saturday.
"The battle with Jon to the end was incredible because we were doing the same times. I pushed hard. I did not really think about the championship. I wanted to win this rally."
Nichols lost time because of a faulty intercom connection with navigator Dave Shindle, leaving him to drive some sections without any instructions. He also had some brake problems and, on the day's third stage, he went off the road when, he said, he got "lost in the dust" from the car in front.
The Subaru Lachute dealership Impreza WRX cart-wheeled through a ditch, but damage was minor. Nichols was able to continue, but lost about a minute in the incident. Richard moved ahead on this stage, just before the midday service stop, and stayed in front, even though he set only one fastest stage time.
"We're happy to finish second," said Nichols, still seeking his first overall national victory. "This is one of our stronger finishes, even though we had our fair share of problems."
Peter Thomson, of Toronto, also led briefly on Saturday morning, but dropped off the leaderboard when his Impreza WRX picked up a puncture (on the same stage where Nichols cart-wheeled). He eventually finished fifth.
Joel Levac, of Riviere-Beaudette, Que., surprised the usual frontrunners by setting the early pace on Friday night, when the first two short stages were held, even though his Impreza WRX was a production-class model without any modifications.
Levac could not match the speed of the faster open-class and Group N cars on Saturday, but still finished sixth overall and took the production win.
Peter Reilly, of Brampton, Ont., was eighth overall in a Ford Focus, but first in the Group 2 division for modified two-wheel-drive cars. Top honors in the smaller-engined production classes went to Steve Walkington, of Hudson, Que., in a VW Scirocco, and Sylvain Bazinet, of Lantier, Que., in a Suzuki Swift.
Results of the DEFI STE-AGATHE/DUHAMEL
Round 6 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, 1h38m11s
2 Jon Nichols, Lachine, Que., Dave Shindle, Virginia, Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h38m53s
3 Sylvain Erickson, Philippe Erickson, Gatineau, Que., Mitsubishi Lancer, 1h40m06s
4 Sylvain Vincent, Dominique Cyr, La Plaine, Que., Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h40m33s
5 Peter Thomson, Toronto, Rod Hendricksen, New Jersey, Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h43m45s
6 Joel Levac, Riviere-Beaudette, Que., Eric Bourbonnais, Montreal, Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h46m02s
7 Rejean Losier, St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Que., Art Losier, Ste-Julie, Que., Mitsubishi Lancer, 1h46m40s
8 Peter Reilly, Brampton, Ont., Ray Felice, Guelph, Ont., Ford Focus, 1h49m47s
9 Greg Brady, Stephen Frankovitch, Smith Falls, Ont., Subaru Impreza RS, 1h50m09s
10 Jean-Marc Alcaraz, St-Lambert-de-Levis, Que., Shirley Normandin, Laval, Que., VW Golf, 1h50m24s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after 6/9 rounds):
1 Richard 85 points
2 Erickson 62
3 Andrew Comrie-Picard, New York 48
4 Tom McGeer, Georgetown, Ont. 40
5 Thomson 39
6 Levac 34
7 Jean-Sebastien Besner, Montreal 31
8 Brian Scott, Michigan 18
9 Nichols 15
10 John Paynter, Sackville, N.S. 14
For further information:
Canadian Association of Rallysport
Terry Epp (905) 640-6444
David Hatter (514) 279-3290