Quebec driver Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard start this weekend’s Oregon Trail Rally as the Rally America series leaders. After podium finishes at all three 2010 championship rounds thus far, L’Estage’s main objective in Oregon is to increase his title hunt lead, which is currently six points ahead of four-time champion Travis Pastrana. A strong finish in the team’s Rockstar Energy Drink Royal Group Mitsubishi Evo X will be enough for the team to leave Oregon one step closer to the championship title.

Two-time Canadian and North American champion Antoine L’Estage, who has never before competed at the Oregon Trail Rally, has high expectations of himself. “I don’t want another second place finish. We’re here to win. The rally organizers have added a day of reconnaissance to the event schedule this year so we will use that day to familiarize ourselves with the roads and lessen the advantage that the other teams have over us,” indicates the driver from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Qc.

With only three events to go, he and five-time North American champion co-driver, Nathalie Richard, lead the Rally America series title hunt. Rumours of Travis Pastrana missing the Oregon Trail Rally is bittersweet for L’Estage. “We always want as much competition as possible at every event. All the championship contenders were at each of the events to date and at the last rally in Washington, we had even more competition than usual. It was fantastic – just how we like it,” confides the Yokohama driver.

The duo suffered a bit of misfortune at the last two rallies, preventing them from putting pressure on the eventual winners throughout the entire duration of each rally. “We’ve had a really strong start to the season and clearly we’re consistent! We’re both eager for a top podium spot this year but my ultimate job is to make sure Antoine doesn’t lose sight of the big picture,” adds Richard, who won her first overall victory at this rally in 2004.

In two weeks, L’Estage and Richard will head north to Calgary for the Rocky Mountain Rally, round two of the Canadian Rally Championship, followed by a sprint across the country to Rally America’s Susquehannock Trail Rally in Pennsylvania. A reliable car, prepared by John Buffum’s Libra Racing shop in Vermont, enables the team to be such a threat while competing both full championships.

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard participate in the entire 2010 Rally America and Canadian Rally Championships with the support of Rockstar Energy Drink, Royal Group, Yokohama Tires, Mitsubishi Canada, Drenth Motorsport Gearboxes, Garrett Turbos, Energie Cardio, Libra Racing, Driver’s Edge Autosport (OMP), VP Racing Fuels, and MBF Racing. For more information on the team or on rallying in general, visit Coyote Rallye .

2010 Rally America and North American Championship leaders Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard.
Photo: Andrew Snucins, World Rally Sport



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