Press Release

Contact: Terry Epp
Tel: 905-640-6444
  Date: February 3, 2005


Perce-Neige Rally
Round 1 of the 2005 Canadian Rally Championship

The Canadian Rally Championship kicks off on Saturday

Stouffville, Ontario - The 49th season of the Canadian Rally Championship will begin this coming Saturday in Maniwaki (Haute-Gatineau, Quebec) with the presentation of the Rallye Perce-Neige.

Despite having lived a short period of uncertainty last fall, the Canadian Championship is back in force with an impressive list of entries for the opening round of the 2005 season. Amongst the favourites appear Antoine L’Estage and his co-driver, Yanick Napert of Quebec. The duo from St. Jean-sur-Richelieu will be driving a 4WD Hyundai Tiburon prepared by the famed American rally ace John Buffum. L'Estage and Napert - the winners of the final round of 2004 and who ranked second in the final standings last year - are very well prepared and fully confident to perform very well in Maniwaki.

Other top competitors to watch for include two vastly experienced drivers on icy roads. Lachine, Quebec’s Jon Nichols, the driver of a front-wheel drive VW Golf 2, is very fast on icy, slippery terrain. The other experienced competitor is Jean-Paul Pérusse, a former two-time national rally champion who returns to rallying, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.6. A veteran competitor, Pérusse was recently named a member of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.

Many competitors will be driving Subaru Imprezas - the most popular car in Canadian rally today. Amongst them are American Matthew Iorio, Toronto’s Peter Thomson and Quebecers Joël Levac and Frédéric Labrie.

Suzuki, class champion last year, is back and Suzuki Canada enters two Swifts +. One will be driven by 2004 champions Bill Bacon and Peter Watt while the other Swift will be under the spotlights because it will be in the capable hands of six-time Canadian Rally champion Frank Sprongl, co-driven by his brother Dan.

This will mark the 40th edition of the Rallye Perce-Neige. The start will be given downtown Maniwaki, Saturday February 5 at 10 o’clock in the morning. The event will finish around 6:30 pm after 315 kilometres of competition. The results will be available live on the web at

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