Quebec driver Antoine L’Estage (of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu) and his co-driver Nathalie Richard (of Halifax, Nova Scotia) won this weekend’s Rocky Mountain Rally in Kananaskis, Alberta, Round 2 of the 2012 Canadian Rally Championship. Already winners of the season’s opening round, the Rockstar Energy Drink team claims another perfect victory after dominating the race from start to finish. This result marks the fifth career Rocky Mountain Rally win for the 2011 Canadian and North American champions, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard.

“We were faced with what has become typical Rocky Mountain Rally weather – rain and snow the night preceding the start of the rally, making for really tricky road conditions. During the rally, more rain, snow, hail, strong winds, and sun all made an appearance and we took advantage of the unpredictable conditions to attack the stages and build up a big lead on our rivals,” indicates Antoine L’Estage, who adds, “Our strategy worked perfectly and I had full confidence in our Yokohama tires, especially given the changing road surfaces, which then permitted me to back off a bit on Day 2 and just manage our lead.”

Winners of eight of the nine competitive stages on Friday, the Rockstar Energy Drink duo started Saturday with a commanding 1 minute and 48 seconds ahead of second place. “It’s of course a very important victory for the championship but it’s also a testament to our partners Drenth Motorsport, as our first Canadian event with our new sequential gearbox, which was perfectly reliable throughout the entire weekend. We can definitely say that it was a huge team effort because our mechanics ensured that our Rockstar Energy Drink Mitsubishi withstood the challenging weekend without the slightest of worries,” adds the champion from Quebec.

“Winning at the season opener Rallye Perce-Neige and again here at the Rocky Mountain Rally gives us the maximum possible championship points heading into the summer events in Quebec. It’s an excellent result for us and we couldn’t have asked for more from a rally where everything and everyone on our team worked perfectly” declares co-driver Nathalie Richard. With this victory, the team increases their lead in the hunt for the Canadian title and also reclaims top spot in the North American Rally Cup.

Antoine and Nathalie don’t have much time to celebrate this victory, their sixth in the last eight rounds of the Canadian Rally Championship. On Wednesday, the team heads to Pennsylvania to contest the Susquehanock Trail Performance Rally (STPR), round four of the Rally America series. After coming in second at this event in 2011 by only 1.3 seconds, the Rockstar Energy Drink team will be gunning for the top spot on the podium. Competition in Canada will resume on June 29th and 30th in Gaspe, Quebec for the highly popular Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs.

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-three overall victories in Canada and the US. Nathalie Richard holds seven overall national championship titles (4 Canadian and 3 American), as well as thirty-nine 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.

Photos: Antoine L’Estage et Nathalie Richard, winners of the 2012 Rocky Mountain Rally.

Photos: Andrew Snucins / CARS Media

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