The 6th and final round of the Canadian Rally Championship will take place this coming weekend in Bancroft, Ontario, a small community west of Ottawa; 49 teams are entered in the 40th running of the Rally of the Tall Pines, the classic season finale known to offer winter roads and summer ditches! The Mitsubishi Brigade will have no less than 11 teams tackling 15 closed stages for a total of 188 kilometres, but one crew will be in the quest for the national title.

Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC had a stellar season in their Mitsubishi Evolution but they still need to win or at least nurse their two-point lead over defending champions Patrick Richard and Alan Ockwell. Their season started in February on a sour note when they did not finish the first event, but since then, the rest has been encouraging. They won the Rally America and North American championships, took the bronze in the X-Games in Los Angeles and they are leading the Canadian standings going into the last round.

Mitsubishi will feature an additional six EVO VIII/IX’s with Synchro Racing returning with three entries for Simon Losier and Brian Maxwell, Martin Losier and Patrick Losier, Maxime Losier and Philippe Poirier. They will be joined by former 2005 Canadian champion Peter Thomson paired with Rod Hendricksen and two American entries, Heath and Heidi Nunnemacher and veteran Demetri Andreou teamed with Jon Dunning.

The Winnipeg brother pair of Jan and Jody Zedril will not participate in the Tall Pines for the first time in many years since they have already clinched the 2WD and Group 2 championships, earning Mitsubishi two Constructor titles by the same token. Jeffrey Dowell and Yavor Klostranec have also won the Production Sport and manufacturer championships with their stock Lancer, but they will battle the last event class victory with Grant and Julia Riddell in another Lancer.

Also entered are Ian Crerar and Doug Draper, a regular crew on the Canadian rally scene and the only female crew in the country, Michelle Laframboise and codriver Elise Racette with their EVO IV.

“The rally championship is probably one of the hardest titles to win in Canada. Our teams have to face twisty logging roads covered with snow, ice or mud; they go flat out from early in the day until late at night, through thick fog, dust and sometimes at altitude. We hope their efforts will be rewarded at the end of the season”, states Koji Soga, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada. (MMSCAN). “The 2010 season comes to an end and we think our brigade contribution made it very entertaining.”

Tall Pines Rally : Event profile

Activities around Bancroft will start Friday night with the usual spectator and VIP shakedown before cars are impounded overnight. Saturday is the longest rally day of the year with the L’Estage and Richard crew first on the road at 9:00 AM. Competitors have 488 kilometres of road on their agenda with 188 scrambled over 15 speed stages. Rally teams will return to Bancroft 13 hours later for the podium ceremonies marking the end of the 2010 season. For more information, please visit the event web site at or visit our password free media website at

Antoine L’Estage and codriver Nathalie Richard (right) in their Mitsubishi Evolution on their way to their victory in British Columbia last month. On the left is the only female crew on the Canadian tour with Elise Racette on the left and driver Michelle Laframboise next to her.

Pictures from Shawn Bishop and Philip Ericksen



Powered by Facebook Comments