The fifth round of the Canadian Rally Championship, the Pacific Forest Rally, was held out of the small community of Merritt, British-Columbia this weekend and the two-day event took a heavy toll on the starting grid as less than half the field made it to the finish. Mitsubishi clinched a Top 5 place with Albertans Zbigniew Szewczyk and Tomasz Karzynski in their Group 5 Lancer Ralliart while Manitobans Jan and Jody Zedril became the 2008 Canadian Production class champions in a stock Lancer with their seventh place finish, their career best in a national series event.

Zbigniew Szewczyk had a flawless run and was third overall with only two stages to go but he could not hold off a comeback from all-wheel drive open class cars and finally settled for fifth. He and codriver Tomasz Karzynski are now within two points of Mitsubishi Cup leaders Simon and Maxime Losier. The Zedril bothers completed their hat trick in Merritt. After their North American and American Production titles, they locked another class win with one event to go and give Mitsubishi the marques championship in the same process. They were also awarded the ECO Challenge, a unique concept where the winner is the vehicle that uses the least amount of gasoline in the event.

Open class entries were part of the heavy attrition. Mitsubishi Cup leaders, Simon and Maxime Losier went out early with a mechanical problem. "A one-dollar pin that prevented us from shifting, Losier said, "left us idle Saturday morning." Rejean Losier and Philippe Poirier in their Synchro EVO 8 where fighting for a podium finish when a quick right caught them off guard and sent them off-road. "Our car is so strong we could have continued", he claimed, "but we became time barred."

"We have to congratulate the Zedril brothers for their victory and the winning of the Production class Championship", says Peter Renz, National Marketing Manager for Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada (MMSCAN). "It is so demanding to prepare a production vehicle for the Canadian series. They have completed all the events they have entered and won their class three times out of four. With three class championships, they are having an outstanding year. Same thing for Szewczyk and Karzynski who were the best two-wheel drive car in the rally."

The last round of the Canadian Rally Championship is set for the end of November in Ontario for a classic event, the Rally of the Tall Pines. It usually draws a large entry and the candidates for the Mitsubishi Cup will be legion. "At least five teams still have a shot at the Cup and the 10 000 $ prize money", concludes mister Renz.

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Photo: Marie-Lyse Tremblay



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