In a very difficult event, filled with attrition that saw almost half of the entries sidelined, American William Bacon and Ontarian co-driver Peter Watt in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX survived to take second place of rally Defi, the fourth round of Canadian Rally Championship held in the Quebec Laurentians this weekend. At the halfway mark, Mitsubishi held no less than four of the Top 5 positions, but retirements in the last stages promoted Bacon to his first podium finish this year. In fourth place, rookie driver David Legault from Val-David, Quebec and co-driver Patrick Lavigne from Mirabel had a stellar performance and lost third place by a mere 18 seconds after they suffered a flat tire on the last speed portion of the event. Finally, two of the Boisvert dealership machines never put a wheel wrong and finished in 6th (Simon Losier) and 7th (Rejean Losier).
Two of the strongest contenders, Mathieu L’Estage with co-driver Yanick Napert and Andrew Comrie-Picard with American Marc Goldfarb had been fighting for second and third place all day long but both couldn’t make it to the finish. ACP was second when his engine sucked in some water from the numerous puddles along the forest roads. L’Estage took over and completed the speed stages only to retire on the last transit to the finish when his transmission lost all gears.
“I’m very proud of our teams who carried the Mitsubishi colors brilliantly”, commented Mr. Koji Soga, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, who attended the event. “The drivers demonstrated tremendous skills and their crews are very professional. I witnessed how treacherous the roads were and how difficult it was for them when they had to withdraw because of unexpected reasons. I want to congratulate the four Mitsubishi crews that finished in the Top 7 places. They prove that our products are reliable and that our crews are competitive.”
Rally Defi in short
Rally Defi 2008 took to the roads from Ste-Agathe in the Laurentians on Friday night in what became a fight for seconds and the lead between Comrie-Picard, L’Estage, Legault and two other teams. Saturday, four of the five top places were Mitsubishi crews before the last section of speeds stages. But Bacon and Watt came charging from 8th place to take second while Legault settled with best rookie – he now leads the class in Canada – and 4th place overall.
Jan and Jody Zedril took second place in Production 3 class and now lead the class in the national standings. Finally, Ian Crerar from Picton, Ontario in his Lancer EVO IV and Arthur Chabot from Maine at the helm of a Galant VR-4 took first and third in the regional part of the event. Only 23 cars out of the starting 44 made it to the finish.
The next round of the Canadian Rally Championship will see competitors head back West to Merritt, British Columbia for the fifth event of the calendar, the Pacific Forest Rally on October 17 and 18.
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