Rockstar Royal Group Rally Team makes its mark out west

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, both of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (QC), won this past weekend’s Rocky Mountain Rally, round two of the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship. At the wheel of their Rockstar Energy Drink Royal Group Mitsubishi Evo X, the duo took the lead of the rally on the first stage and never looked back, winning eight of the eleven stages and a dominating victory. L’Estage and Richard lead the North American Rally Championship and the US-based Rally America series, and are now in second place in the Canadian Rally Championship.

This 2010 Rocky Mountain Rally victory is another milestone for two-time Canadian and North American champion Antoine L’Estage, marking his twentieth overall national win. His co-driver, Nathalie Richard, is now one win away from the thirtieth outright victory. “We were faced with horrible weather conditions this year, with continuous snowfall and extremely muddy roads. One of the key factors in our win was our tire choice,” explains Antoine. He specifies, “We were able to benefit from our Yokohama A031 mud tires, which were perfect for Friday’s stages and allowed us to push hard on the first loop. By the end of the first three stages, we had over a minute and a half lead. Mechanical problems were not an issue for any of the top teams – it always feels good to win a clean fight.”

The Rockstar Royal Group team gained even more time on their opponents on Saturday to solidify their lead. “It’s an extraordinary victory for our team. We made good tactical choices, Antoine drove really well, and the car ran flawlessly all weekend. In short, it was a perfect rally, albeit the weather challenges that every team faced” confides Nathalie Richard, five-time North American champion co-driver.

This victory moves Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard into second place in the Canadian Rally Championship. It is also the fifth time in six 2010 North American rallies that the team has finished on the podium. Moving into first place in the championship is the team’s goal for the next Canadian round, July’s Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs.

STPR this weekend …

Before Canada’s next round, the team will cross a majority of the continent to compete at the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) this coming weekend in Pennsylvania. Antoine and Nathalie won this event in 2008 and as current leaders of the Rally America series, they have the opportunity to clinch the title this Saturday.

“Our main goal for STPR is to watch our closest championship rivals and stay ahead of them. Naturally, if the possibility of winning the rally presents itself, we’ll be gunning for that, but it’s not a must in order to keep the lead going into the final round in July,” mentions L’Estage.

Antoine L’Estage has won two Canadian championship titles (2006 and 2007), as well as two North American titles (2007 and 2008) and twenty overall victories in Canada and the United States. Co-driver Nathalie Richard has earned four national championship titles (two Canadian and two American) and twenty-nine outright rally victories. In 2009, she won her fifth North American Championship for co-drivers.

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), and VP Racing Fuels. For more information on the team or on rallying in general, visit Coyote Rallye.

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