Quebec driver Antoine L’Estage, co-driven by Nathalie Richard, both of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (QC), will contest this weekend’s Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ontario, the final round of the Canadian Rally Championship and the North American Rally Cup. This will be a decisive event, one at which the Rockstar Royal Group team could capture both the Canadian and North American titles, as well as the Manufacturer’s title for Mitsubishi. Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, who each have three victories at this rally, are naturally very confident leading up to the final round of the season.

“We’re going to Bancroft confident, with a car that has been meticulously prepared by John Buffum and our crew,” indicates Antoine L’Estage. “We have excellent cards in our hands coming into this rally seeing as we have a six point lead in the Canadian Championship standings. Our main rival could win this rally and we could finish second and still be assured the championship title,” he adds. For Antoine, Nathalie and the entire team, the Canadian title is the main objective but the possibility of claiming another North American title is just as interesting. “In the North American Rally Cup, we have a seven point lead and our main NARC rival needs to win this rally to claim the title. Anything less awards us the championship. One thing is certain, if we win the NARC, it means a third consecutive title for us – something that is exceptional in the history of the sport,” explains the Quebec driver.

The Rally of the Tall Pines, the last round of the 2009 calendar, is infamous for being a very difficult event, whose roads are often made very tricky due to the changing weather conditions – conditions in which the Yokohama tires always excel. It’s also a rally that Antoine and Nathalie have claimed victory at three times since 2004, when Antoine won the first national rally of his career.

Recent winners of the Bertrand-Fabi Trophy, which awards top motorsports competitors for excellence on national and international levels, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard look forward to the Rally of the Tall Pines with anticipation, as the co-driver describes, “2009 was an excellent year for our team and our sponsors. We debuted a brand new open class Evo X, one of the first of its kind in the world, and we expected a few teething problems. As it stands, we have earned two victories in five Canadian rallies to date and we lead the Canadian and North American championships heading into the final round. It’s nothing but positive and we’re here to cap it off with two more titles!” concludes Nathalie.

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard participate in the 2009 Canadian Rally Championship with the support of Rockstar Energy Drink, Royal Group, Mitsubishi Canada, Yokohama Tires, Mobil, Energie Cardio, Libra Racing, OMP Racewear and MBF Racing. For more information on the team or on rallying in general, visit Coyote Rallye .

Photo Credit: Andrew Snucins –



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