The first round of the Canadian Rally Championship was run last weekend out of Maniwaki, Quebec, capital city of the Upper Ottawa Valley and the three winning teams of the Mitsubishi Brigade in 2010 started where they had left, with victories. Hail to the victors first, Triple Crown winners Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, in their Lancer Evolution gave a driving clinic with an outright victory by more than six minutes. The brother pair of Jan and Jody Zedril from Winnipeg had to overcome difficult conditions but still came out of top in Group 5. Finally in the Production Sport category, Jeffrey Dowell and partner Yavor Klostranec from Windsor, Ontario did the same. Out of the 42 starting teams, only 23 returned to Maniwaki after a gruelling 440 kilometre trek.

The Mitsubishi Brigade saw three more teams complete the snowy drifting fest. Maxime Losier with codriver Philippe Poirier were the best of the Synchro Racing team with a 13th place. Ontarians Ian Crerar and Doug Draper on board their EVO 6 placed 19th. And the rookie team of Peter Guagenti and James Drake steering an EVO IX kick started their career and were happy just to cross the finish line.

“Our leaders stood up again and got off to a brilliant start of the 2011 season. Another outstanding performance from the L’Estage and Richard duo and remarkable accomplishments from the other teams in production Lancers,” said Kogi Soga, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc. “Winter events are always very difficult. Our brigade will now have a few months to get ready for the summer rounds.”

Next round: Rocky Mountain Rally
The second round of the Canadian Rally Championship will move out West to Calgary at the end of May with the Rocky Mountain Rally, a two-day event held in altitude in the Porcupine Hills. This event is highly unpredictable in terms of weather: in the past editions, competitors were faced with road challenges like snow, deep mud and dust ! More information is available at the event web site

Antoine L’Estage and his codriver Nathalie Richard (right) ran flawless in their Lancer Evolution for an outright win, their first in 2011. For their maiden start in Group 5 class, Jan and Jody Zedril, captured another class victory for 2WD cars.

Photos: Philip Ericksen



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