The 6th and last round of the Canadian Rally Championship took place last weekend out of Bancroft, Ontario. The Rally of the Tall Pines kept its legendary reputation of being a survival of the fittest with more than half the field of 60 cars having to retire with mechanical problems. Leading up to this event, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard earned almost perfect scores for Mitsubishi all year, requiring only sixth place points for the highest finishing Mitsubishi at the Rally of the Tall Pines in order to clinch the Manufacturer’s title. In the end, Simon Losier and Brian Maxwell teaming up in a Synchro Racing Lancer EVO VIII, raked in sixth place points, enough to earn Mitsubishi the coveted overall manufacturer’s awards. Meanwhile, Michelle Laframboise, the only female rally driver in the country, had her career best finish with eighth place, a fabulous accomplishment.

The Mitsubishi Brigade had three more finishers among the 23 cars completing the grueling event: drivers Ian Crerar took 11th, Maxime Losier finished 12th and Peter Thomson completed the round of survivors with a 16th place. Road conditions ruled the day as they were deeply rutted in some corners and very slippery in others. Tire choice was critical for most of the teams who experienced punctures, causing suspension and steering problems.

Attrition was high among the entire field and the Mitsubishi Brigade was not exempt. In their Mitsubishi Evolution X, already crowned 2011 Canadian and North American champions, Antoine L’Estage of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC and codriver Nathalie Richard of Halifax, NS won the first four competitive stages before their racing gearbox experienced problems and forced them to retire. Winnipeg brothers Jan and Jody Zedril in the 2 Wheel Drive and Group 5 categories with their Lancer as well as Jeffrey Dowell and Yavor Klostranec in a stock Production class Lancer were sidelined with a string of punctures and mechanical problems. Nevertheless, Mitsubishi dominated the 2011 Canadian rally season, collecting a total of 18 championship titles.

“We understand the Tall Pines was up to its reputation again and our teams were leading the rally and their respective classes before retiring for numerous reasons”, stated Mr. Kenji Toh, VP Sales/Marketing & Corporate Planning for Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada. “We thank all the teams in the Mitsubishi Brigade for their dedication and accomplishments throughout the 2011 season. We look forward to seeing them back in action when the new season resumes in February.”

2012 : A new season

Tall Pines completes another Canadian Rally Championship calendar and teams will spend the coming months getting ready for the 55th rally season, the longest running motorsports championship in the country. All six events will return in 2012, taking the teams to four different provinces. The Rallye Perce-Neige, an event that originated in 1964, will welcome rally teams to Maniwaki, Quebec on the first weekend of February. For more information, please visit the series web site at www.carsrally.ca, the Perce-Neige web site at www.rallyeperceneige.com or visit our password free media website at www.mitsubishi-motors-pr.ca

Simon Losier and Brian Maxwell (right) in their Lancer EVO VIII finished 6th overall, assisting Mitsubishi’s Overall Manufacturer’s Championship title win. Right, Michelle Laframboise, the only female rally driver, took 8th overall, her career best finish in her Lancer EVO IV

Pictures by Philip Ericksen

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