Victory and the North American Title…

At the wheel of their Rockstar Royal Group Mitsubishi Evolution X, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard won this past weekend’s Rallye Defi, the fourth of six rounds in the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship. This victory makes it the fifth time the couple from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu has won this particular event, setting a new record for victories at Defi and clinching the 2010 North American rally title for the team. They are the only team to win two events in Canada so far this year.

The Rockstar team had an almost perfect weekend at the Rallye Defi, leading the competition from beginning to end and setting the scratch time on 14 of 19 stages. “Everything went really well and I’m particularly happy to have set this new record of wins at Defi. My good friend and North American driving legend John Buffum, who is also our rally car builder, won this rally four times in a row in the 1980’s. It’s an important accomplishment for me to have the five wins and now I’ll try to make it five in a row!” highlights the Quebec driver.

The victory also makes it mathematically impossible for any other team to catch Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard in the hunt for the 2010 North American Championship title, and also vaults them to within 3 points from the lead of the Canadian Rally Championship with two events remaining. “We couldn’t have asked for a much better result as far as the Canadian championship goes. And after winning the Rally America title earlier this summer, it truly is fantastic to win the North American Rally Cup here this weekend,” adds Antoine. This is the first time in history that a resident of Quebec wins the American and North American titles.

Referring back to the weekend’s competition, L’Estage confides, “We wanted to push hard on Friday morning’s first two new stages, to build ourselves a big enough lead heading into the short stages that afternoon. After that it was just a matter of managing our lead and making sure we never lost more than a couple of seconds to Pat and Alan on Saturday.” It’s also worthy to note that on six competitive stages, the L’Estage/Richard duo broke the maximum allowable average speed of 120 km/h. As per the regulations, any team to do so receives a stage time equivalent to that of 120 km/h over the set distance, in this case decreasing the duo’s overall margin of victory.

“Our Rockstar Royal Group Mitsubishi Evo X was very reliable from the get go and our new Yokohama A053 gravel tires were absolutely perfect on these roads, which were pretty rough and rocky at times. It was a great win for the team that puts us back into a big battle for the championship and closer to the possibility of a 2010 “Triple Crown” (Canadian, American, and North American championships) by the end of the year,” adds Antoine L’Estage.

In addition to the North American title clinched this weekend, his third including 2007 and 2008. L’Estage currently has two Canadian championship titles (2006 and 2007), one American and twenty-three overall victories in Canada and the United States. Nathalie Richard holds five overall national championships (Canada and USA) and thirty-two victories on both sides of the border. The North American title she won at Rallye Defi is her sixth in seven years.

The next outing for the Rockstar Royal Group team is set for October 1st and 2nd at the Pacific Forest Rally in British Columbia. This will be the second-last round of the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship.

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard are the only team to 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 .

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, winners of the 2010 Rallye Defi and the newly crowned 2010 North American Rally Champions.
Photo: Maxime Poirier



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