Victorious at their last two competitions, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (QC), will attempt to make it three in a row at the Rallye Auto Nord-Americain de la Baie-des-Chaleurs (in Gaspe), the third of six rounds in the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship. The Rockstar Energy Drink Royal Group team, which is currently leading the North American Rally Cup as well as the Rally America series in the United States, heads to this event with confidence.

“We’re on a good streak and the Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs is one that I love. We use fantastic roads, the crowd is amazing, and I’ve won here twice before. We’re coming to this rally with high expectations,” explains Antoine L’Estage, who is encouraged by the strong performance of his Rockstar Royal Group Mitsubishi. ” Baie-des-Chaleurs is a rally that is sometimes tough on the equipment and the weather conditions can result in pretty challenging road conditions. With our Yokohama tires and a well-prepared Evo X, it’s clear to me that we couldn’t be in a better situation,” he adds. The Rockstar Royal Group team is also very pleased after having conducted a brief test session last week to ensure that everything was to their satisfaction before heading for Gaspe.

Antoine L’Estage is currently in second place in the Canadian Rally Championship, twelve points behind the leader. The fan-favourite is taking the start line with the intention of earning more than just valuable championship points. “We’re going there to win, that’s for sure,” indicates the two-time Canadian and North American champion, who was recently named as the only Canadian to qualify for Rally Car Racing in the 16th edition of the internationally popular ESPN X Games, which will take place in Los Angeles on July 31st.

At this point in their busy 2010 season, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard have been on the podium at six of their seven outings. “It would be great to leave the Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs with the lead of the Canadian championship to go along with our lead in the American series and the North American Rally Cup,” indicates co-driver Nathalie Richard. “But Baie-des-Chaleurs is a difficult rally and we remain focused on the task at hand – we’ll definitely wait until the end of the event before taking stock,” she adds.

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

The thirty-third edition of the Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs starts on July 2nd in New Richmond. After the Friday night stages that wow the thousands of spectators along the course, the second section will start on Saturday morning at 9am. The winner will cross the finish line at around 6pm.

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.

In action: Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, driving their Rockstar Royal Group Mitsubishi to victory at the most recent event in the Canadian Rally Championship.

Photo: Louren Sansregret



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