Contact: Paul Westwick
Tel: (604) 682-3296
Tel: (514) 279-3290
|Date: September 29, 2002|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RICHARD CLINCHES CHAMPIONSHIP WITH FOURTH WIN
PARRY SOUND, ONT. - Pat Richard became Canada's new rally driving champion on Saturday as he took his fourth win of the year on the Rally of the Voyageurs in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario.
With two events remaining, the 28-year-old driver from Vancouver now has an insurmountable lead of 43 points, 105-62, over second-placed Sylvain Erickson in the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama.
Driving a factory Subaru Impreza WRX, Richard won Saturday's Parry Sound, Ont.-based event comfortably after his main competition ran into trouble.
Erickson, of Gatineau, Que., was sidelined early when the transmission broke on his Mitsubishi Lancer after just four of 14 special stages, the competitive portions of the rally on gravel and dirt roads temporarily closed to the public. He was running third at the time.
Even with Erickson out, Richard still had to win to wrap up the title and Andrew Comrie-Picard, the year's top-ranked rookie, did his best to stop him.
Comrie-Picard, an Albertan now living in New York, had his strongest showing yet in his Mitsubishi Lancer. He took the lead from Richard at the mid-point of the rally and then put together a string of seven straight fastest stage times to extend his advantage to 24 seconds.
But with just two stages to go, the Lancer suffered an engine failure, handing Richard a lead of four-and-a-half minutes over Toronto's Peter Thomson, in another Subaru Impreza WRX.
Richard, with Ian McCurdy, of Whistler, B.C., as navigator, stretched the gap to six minutes, 34 seconds, by the end. He completed 158.36 kms. of special stages in one hour, 27 minutes, 32 seconds, at an average speed of 108.55 kph.
"Our strategy had been to take the lead and manage the race from the front," said Richard. "But it it didn't work out like out. Then at the end of the evening, a little miracle happened. Andrew had to stop and we could relax."
This is Richard's first overall championship title, although in 2000 he took both the Canadian and North American crowns in the production class for showroom stock cars without modifications.
Subaru Imprezas filled the top four positions. Thomson matched his best-ever finish by taking second. Sylvain Vincent, of La Plaine, Que., was third, his best result of the year. John Paynter, of Dartmouth, N.S., took fourth place and top production honors.
Joel Levac, of Riviere-Beaudette, Que., rolled his Impreza, but he had already clinched the 2002 production class title. Other notable retirements included Jon Nichols, of Lachine, Que., who was in a tight battle with Thomson until the transmission broke on his Impreza with four stages to go.
Rejean Losier, of St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Que., was the top non-Subaru driver at the finish, taking fifth place in just his second outing in a newly-acquired Mitsubishi Lancer. Peter Reilly, of Brampton, Ont., was sixth in a Ford Focus and took the class win in Group 2 for modified two-wheel-drive cars.
The smaller-engined production classes were won by U.S. visitor Ted Mendham, ninth in a Nissan Sentra; Yavor Klostranec, of Newmarket, Ont., 14th in a Nissan Pulsar; and Jean-Sebastien Busque, of Toronto, 15th in a Suzuki Swift.
Results of the RALLY OF THE VOYAGEURS (Parry Sound, Ont.)
Round 7 of the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama
(driver, navigator, homes, car, time):
1. Pat Richard, Vancouver / Ian McCurdy, Whistler, B.C., Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h27m32s
2. Peter Thomson, Toronto / Rod Hendricksen, New Jersey, Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h34m06s
3. Sylvain Vincent / Dominique Cyr, La Plaine, Que., Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h35m10s
4. John Paynter / Clarke Paynter, Dartmouth, N.S., Subaru Impreza WRX, 1h37m58s
5. Rejean Losier, St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Que. / Art Losier, Ste-Julie, Que., Mitsubishi Lancer, 1h41m31s
6. Peter Reilly, Brampton, Ont. / Ray Felice, Guelph, Ont., Ford Focus, 1h45m52s
7. Bruce Perry, New York / Adrian Wintle, Newmarket, Ont., Eagle Talon, 1h49m38s
8. Nick Boucher / Pat Lavigne, Mirabel, Que., Subaru Legacy, 1h51m14s
9. Ted Mendham / Lise Mendham, New Hampshire, Nissan Sentra, 1h54m00s
10. Gord Olsen / Kathy Olsen, Brooks, Alta., VW Golf, 1h54m18s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after 7/9 rounds)
1. Richard, 105 points
2. Sylvain Erickson, Gatineau, Que., 62
3. Thomson, 54
4. Andrew Comrie-Picard, New York, 48
5. Tom McGeer, Georgetown, Ont, 40
6. Joel Levac, Riviere-Beaudette, Que., 34
7. Jean-Sebastien Besner, Montreal, 31
8. Vincent, 28
9. Paynter, 24
10. Brian Scott, Michigan, 18
For further information:
Canadian Association of Rallysport
Paul Westwick (604) 617-4132
David Hatter (514) 279-3290