Quebec driver Antoine L’Estage (of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu) and his co-driver Nathalie Richard (of Halifax, Nova Scotia) won this weekend’s Rallye Perce-Neige, the opening round of the 2012 Canadian Rally Championship. In their brand new Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, the Rockstar Energy Drink duo and reigning Canadian and North American champions, start the 2012 national season in the best possible way and set a new record for the most victories at this event.

“It’s a convincing victory, winning the rally with a gap of over eight minutes ahead of second place,” confides Antoine L’Estage, who adds, “I felt much more comfortable with the new car than last weekend in Michigan. Nathalie once again did a fantastic job co-driving, we didn’t have a single mechanical issue, and our Yokohama tires allowed us to push as much as we needed to throughout this very long rally. We can really say that it was the perfect scenario for us.”

Winners of nine of the sixteen competitive stages in the 2012 Rallye Perce-Neige, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard once again proved from the beginning how competitively John Buffum has built yet another Lancer Evo X. “Leading the Canadian and North American championships – there’s no better way for us to start our season,” concludes Nathalie Richard who was celebrating her 100th rally, of which she has won no fewer than thirty-eight!

The next outing for the Rockstar Energy Drink team is set for the last weekend of February in Missouri, where Antoine L’Estage, Nathalie Richard and the entire team will return to the Rally America series to defend their 2011 victory at the 100 Acre Wood rally.

Antoine L’Estage holds four North American championship titles (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011), four Canadian titles (2006, 2007, 2010, 2011), one American title (2010), and thirty-two overall victories in Canada and the US. Nathalie Richard holds seven overall national championship titles (4 Canadian and 3 American), as well as thirty-eight overall rally wins on both sides of the border. She also holds a record seven North American Co-Driving Championship titles (2004 – 2011, excluding 2006).

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard participate in the 2012 Rally America and Canadian Rally Championships with the support of Rockstar Energy Drink, Formica Group, Fenetres Concerto, Mitsubishi Canada, Yokohama Tires, Drenth Motorsport Gearboxes, Garrett Turbos, Energie Cardio, VP Racing Fuels, Exe-Tc Suspensions, Hawk Performance Brake Pads, Driver’s Edge Autosport, and Libra Racing. For more information on the team or on rallying in general, visit antoinelestage.com.

Action Photo: World Rally Sport /Melina Lamoureux
Victory Photo : World Rally Sport /Mike Proulx

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