Quebec driver Antoine L’Estage, of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and his co-driver Nathalie Richard (of Halifax, NS) won this weekend’s Rallye Perce-Neige, the first round of the 2011 Canadian Rally Championship. Winners of the Canadian, North American and Rally America championships last year, the Rockstar Royal Group duo kicked off this Canadian season with a textbook rally and now lead the hunt for the championship title.

This weekend’s victory marked Antoine L’Estage’s fourth at the Rallye Perce-Neige and the team’s fourth Canadian victory in as many rallies. The challenging rally, held in Maniwaki, Quebec, is known for its tricky roads and conditions. “It would not have been possible to script a better rally for us at this event !” indicated the Rockstar Royal Group driver, “I told myself before the start of the rally that I was not going to take unnecessary risks early on. I wanted to be cautious because of the many tricky spots on these roads, but I didn’t want to be too conservative either. We finished the first two stages with extremely close results to those of our main competitor but when he incurred a one-minute penalty, the pressure for a tight battle was lifted. It nevertheless took a lot of experience and strategy to keep our lead without making any errors. We slowly increased our lead throughout the day and eventually won the rally by more than six minutes over second place,” he added.

This victory is a fantastic start to the season and confirms the power, preparation, and reliability of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. “We did not incur even the slightest mechanical problem from start to finish and the Yokohama IG20 ice tires that I used throughout the entire competition were a key component to our win,” explained Antoine L’Estage.

Nathalie Richard was also very pleased with the result. “It’s the best way we could’ve started our Canadian season! We had a flawless rally with no mistakes, no flat tires, no mechanical issues, nothing. Antoine did a great job of managing our lead without going too fast but also without losing his concentration. I know it’s not easy for drivers slow down, especially on these tough conditions, but he was able to do just that,” confided the co-driver.

Even with lessened pressure, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard won seven of the fourteen competitive stages that made up the 2011 Rallye Perce-Neige, in which forty-two teams were registered. This victory gives the team the top spot in the Canadian championship standings and tie them for the lead of the North American Rally Cup.

Uncoming event …

The Rockstar Royal Group will return to competition at the end of the month for Missouri’s Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, the Round 2 of the Rally America series. The team now also starts the longest break in the Canadian rally calendar, which will take them all the way until the end of May when they head to Calgary for the Rocky Mountain Rally.

Antoine L’Estage holds three North American championship titles (2007, 2008, 2010), three Canadian titles (2006, 2007, 2010), one American title (2010), and twenty-six overall victories in Canada and the US. Nathalie Richard holds six overall national championship titles (3 in Canada and 3 in the USA), as well as thirty-two overall rally wins on both sides of the border. She is also a six-time North American Co-Driving Champion (2004 – 2010, excluding 2006).

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard participate in the 2011 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

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, winners of the 2011 Rallye Perce-Neige.
Photos: Maxime Poirier



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