Quebec driver Antoine L’Estage (of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu) and his co-driver Nathalie Richard (of Halifax, Nova Scotia) head to Salem, Missouri for the hotly contested Rally in The 100 Acre Wood, Round 2 of the Rally America series. Coming off of a decisive victory in Quebec two weeks ago at the opening round of the Canadian Rally Championship and a second place finish in Michigan the weekend prior, the Rockstar Energy Drink duo now lead the hunt for the Canadian and North American rally titles.

“This weekend is going to be a lot of fun with stiff competition. In addition to our usual battle with former British champion David Higgins, we will also be joined by Ken Block and top Dakar Rally regular Krzysztof Holowczyc. It could end up being the biggest battle of the year!” shares an excited L’Estage, who adds : “This will be the first time on gravel with our new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. John (Buffum) always builds us very reliable cars and I plan on putting this one to the test on the fast and tricky roads”. Mother Nature sometimes teases competitors with snow and icy conditions at this event and although a more seasonal forecast is expected, the team is equipped with the best line of Yokohama Tires regardless of road surface.

Reigning Canadian and North American champions, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard have had their share of success at this event in the past. “We won this rally last year and were second the year before. We’ve had a pretty good start to this season and we’re both confident that will continue this weekend in Missouri” confides co-driver Richard. L’Estage and Richard last won the Rally America series in 2010 on route to claiming the trio of North American titles, and were runners-up in the American series last year.

The Rockstar Energy Drink team is planning to release several videos throughout the weekend’s event. Links will be available on the duo’s respective Facebook (Antoine L’Estage Rallye, Nathalie Richard *Rally*) and Twitter (@AntoineLEstage, @NathalieRally) accounts.

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.

Photo: Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, reigning Canadian and North American rally champions, by Mike Proulx

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