The 34th edition of the Rallye Baie des Chaleurs, third round of the Canadian Rally Championship, gave Mitsubishi its first overall victory with Antoine L’Estage from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and codriver Nathalie Richard from Halifax, NS taking a close win in their Lancer Evolution. Their third victory in as many events in Canada stretches their lead in the standings and locks the North American title by the same token. But the Triple Crown crew had to deal with traction gremlins on two occasions: while earning scratch times in 11 of the 14 speed stages, they clinched victory by a mere 20,6 seconds. Witnesses were thousands of spectators who attended the two-day event around New-Richmond in the Gaspe Peninsula.

24 among the 39-car starting grid fought over muddy and rocky roads to reach the finish line, including all the crews of the Mitsubishi Brigade. Jeffrey Dowell and Yavor Klostranec took another Production Sport class win in a stock Lancer DE and widened their lead in the national standings. Synchro Racing team had their own challenge with Maxime Losier and Philippe Poirier (EVO VIII) taking 9th, Martin and Patrick Losier (EVO V) earning 11th, and Simon Losier and Brian Maxwell (EVO VIII) following in 12th.

Americans Peter Guagenti and James Drake completed their maiden Baie event in their Lancer EVO IX RS in 20th place while the lady crew of Michelle Labramboise and Elise Racette took 24th overall. After a short off-road excursion on Friday night, the Clear Water Design entry of Ian Crerar and Doug Draper with an EVO VI took to the road again in the regional event and finished in second place.

“We are very proud of the first victory for Mitsubishi in that difficult event and we thank our leaders L’Estage et Richard for another win. This will go down in the long motorsports history of our brand,” said Koji Soga, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc.(MMSCAN). “We also acknowledge the performance of Dowell and Klostranec in a production Lancer. The fact that all our teams rallied the finish line says a lot about their determination and the quality of our products.”

Next event : Rallye Defi in September

The fourth event of the Canadian Rally Championship, Rallye Defi, will be held in the Laurentians and Ottawa Valley on September 9 and 10. This will be the last event held in the Quebec region this year and one all rally teams won’t want to miss. Meanwhile, the L’Estage and Richard duo are entered in the last round of the Rally America series, the Maine Forest Prorally. They are currently second in the standings and could earn another title with a victory.

More information is available at www.rallyedefi.com for the next event.

Pictures by Philip Ericksen

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