1st round of the 2009 Canadian Rally Championship

The very first outing of the new Mitsubishi Evolution RS was a success with Antoine L’Estage, the defending North American champion, earning an outright victory in Rallye Perce-Neige, first round of the Canadian Rally Championship held in Maniwaki, Quebec. L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard held a steady pace and ran flawless until they took the lead in the penultimate speed section and then went on to win by a mere four seconds, the closest margin in the event history.

The win is a first for the new 2009 Mitsubishi Evolution RS and comes in the second year of the Mitsubishi National Rally Support Program. A Mitsubishi product also took the third step of the podium with Peter Thomson completing another strong performance. Overall, five of the top eight finishers were different generations of Lancer Evo, with Jean-Sebastien Besner clinching a deserving fifth, Rejean Losier grabbing seventh and Martin Losier eighth. But the man of the day was Frank Sprongl who rocketed to scratch times in nine of the thirteen stages, only to see his day come to an abrupt end in the last section when a flat tire triggered fire in the engine compartment. Finally, the brothers Jan and Jody Zedril from Winnipeg started their season in their production Lancer on a high note with a class win in the two wheel drive cars.

“Results from the first event of the season are very encouraging”, said Koji Soga, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada. “We knew our teams had the commitment to win, but to do so well means that they are prepared and our products are also performing. We congratulate Antoine L’Estage for this maiden win with the Evolution RS and the others who did so well. We know this discipline is very demanding but we hope our National Rally Support Program will continue to help our teams achieve their goals.”

“I’m so thrilled to earn my third Perce-Neige victory in the new Evolution RS,” said L’Estage. “With a new car, you must take the time to break it in: so we deliberately eased the rythm at the start. But the car was perfect and we picked up the pace as the event went while others had their gremlins. We inherited the lead in the last section and this will give us maximum points in the National standings and the Mitsubishi Cup.”

Next round: Rocky Mountain Rally
The Canadian Rally Championship will head west with next round set for May 29 and 30 out of Calgary, Alberta, the Rocky Mountain Rally. Until then, information is available at

Photo by Lydia Ericksen



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