2007 Rally of the Tall Pines is here!

Posted on 23. Nov, 2007 by in Tall Pines 2007

The 2007 edition of the Rally of the Tall Pines is on, and the event is shaping up as one of the most thrilling rallies of the year! There are only two certainties with the 2007 Rally of the Tall Pines; it is bound to be exciting, and nothing else can be guaranteed!

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Snow and cold temperatures have been the rule in Bancroft over the last few days, but anything can change. To be prepared, six-time Canadian Champion Frank Sprongl has his own strategy. "We're bringing everything tire wise, we don't want to get caught with our pants down!" Frank will be on hand, competing in John Kemp's Mitsubishi EVO, and is looking forward to getting out and having some fun. He also says he will be driving to win.

Antoine L'Estage will be on hand to defend his title, and is leading the championship by 15 points. Behind him is Andrew Comrie-Picard who will try to capitalize on any trouble Antoine might have. Comrie-Picard needs to win and have Antoine finish lower than seventh to win the title. Though unlikely, at the unpredictable Tall Pines a few years ago, a similar scenario saw Antoine suffer a mechanical, and Peter Thomson take the title. This year, Peter Thomson is returning to Bancroft for the first time since he won the title in 2005. After some time away from the rally scene, Peter returned this year, for the Galway Cavendish Forest Rally, and the Rallye Defi Ste Agathe.

Also on hand to mix things up is Ken Block in a privately entered Subaru STI. Ken will definitely be amongst the front runners, though his primary goal is to be there as support for his friend Dave Mirra. Mirra is a BMX rider who has won more X Games medals than anyone else. He's always been into cars and recently had a chance to try his hand at rally cars on a test day, and then on a four day stint at Team O'Neil's in New Hampshire. At Tall Pines, Mirra will be driving a normally aspirated Subaru, co-driven by Alan Ockwell. He already has some success in motorsports, including a win in this year's Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix celebrity race. Both Ken and Dave will be supported by crew from Vermont Sports Car.

There are many others on hand who will keep things interesting, and be ready to pounce on any errors made by other competitors. John Vanos, Martin Donnelly, Peter Reilly, Craig Henderson, Ian Crerar, Rejean Losier and John Cassidy are all expected to do well, and will no doubt be battling it out for position.

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Behind them are an exciting crop of hopefuls, including Leo Urlichich and Chris Martin. Leo is coming off a large crash at Defi, and is in his new Subaru, an ex-Subaru Canada team car backed by Can Jam Motorsports. Chris Martin was at Tall Pines a few years ago in a 1985 Subaru RX Turbo. He was able to set top ten times before the engine blew, ending his rally. Now he is returning to Tall Pines with a more powerful car.  Glen Clarke, the winner of this years Targa Newfoundland will be trying his hand at Tall Pines in a 1991 Legacy, co-driven by Ray Felice. One of the most unlikely cars, in the shape of a Mazda RX-8 is also entered after a run in this yearís Targa Newfoundland.

Road conditions are typical winter, with lots of snow on the ground. After trouble with the A7 Stage, Egan Creek, organisers have removed it from the event, and substituted a second run of the Peanut. There are reportedly sections that are so snowy that the 2wd cars are expected to have problems. Even know as competitors are out for their recce passes, snowplows are also out, trying to prepare the rest of the roads for tomorrow.  "Everything is ok so far," commented Donna Castledine, the Co-ordinator for the 2007 Rally of the Tall Pines. "We've had to cancel Egan Creek, because of the hills and conditions," Castledine added. To replace the stage, the organisers are doing a second run on the Peanut.

Flatovercrest.com will be at full strength for the whole weekend, bringing you all the news. Dean Campbell is on hand as writer, with Andrew Harvey as photographer and Warwick Patterson shooting video.

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