The 5th round of the Canadian Rally Championship took place last weekend out of Merritt, British Columbia. After the running of the Pacific Forest Rally, new Canadian champions were confirmed: Antoine L’Estage from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC and co-driver Nathalie Richard from Halifax, NS earned second place in their Mitsubishi Evolution and plenty of points to nurse their lead and secure another national title. For driver L’Estage, it is the fourth title and for co-driver Richard, a seventh. They are also North-American champions and were runner-up in the Rally America series. First on the road, L’Estage was just 5 seconds shy of leading the event after 5 stages: he then decided to settle for second place, after seven outright wins in a row, and rake enough points to put the grab on another championship.

In the 2 Wheel Drive group, the brother team of Jan and Jody Zedril from Winnipeg drove their Lancer to an eighth place overall finish and class wins in Group 5 and the 2WD category. They took the lead early and never looked back, clinching their victory by more than two minutes over their closest competitors. The Zedril eased their pace after two other Mitsubishi teams dropped out of the event, those of former champions Calgarians Szewczyk and Karzynski and newcomers Ostrowski and Galecki. For Mitsubishi, those victories guarantee up to five manufacturer titles for the 2011 season at this point.

“The leaders of the Mitsubishi Brigade had another very good weekend filled with success”, stated Fr. Kenji Toh, VP Sales/Marketing & Corporate Planning for Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada. “We are proud of their accomplishment and we look forward to great results at the last round in Ontario.”

Last round : Tall Pines Rally

The last round of the 2011 calendar will be the Tall Pines Rally, a national event in November that goes back to the early seventies. Held around Bancroft in Ontario, Tall Pines is always filled with surprise, considering the narrow logging roads can turn from mud to ice or snow in a matter of hours. The ‘Pines’ is a one-day event starting early on Saturday and covering more than 520 kilometres in distance, comprising more than 200 in stages. For more information, please visit the event web site at www.tallpinesrally.com.

Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard (right) in their Mitsubishi Evolution are the 2011 national champions. The brother team of Jan and Jody Zedril have done the same in the two-wheel-drive category.

Pictures by Shawn Bishop

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