Block Bashes Bridges to Take Rally Lead

Posted on 27. Jun, 2008 by in Baie-des-Chaleurs 2008


The action at the 2008 Rallye Baie-Des-Chaleurs has started immediately for both competitors and fans alike.

The first stage of the rally takes crews through the famous Camp Brule spectator area. One of the landmark spectator areas in Canadian rallying, the crowds here number into the thousands. Just short of ten kilometres, the road is rough in spots, and already drying out after yesterday’s rain. Next on the schedule is the Route Dee-Burton stage. Almost seventeen kilometres long, the stage starts out fast and flowing before tightening up and becoming more technical further from town. The third stage is the Robidoux stage. Starting on a fast and wide gravel road, teams turn off onto a tight and technical forest track that winds up and down a hill before rejoining the faster road below. It was at the start of Robidoux where we caught up with the competitors. The rally was already claiming its first victims.

“We’ve lost fifth and sixth gear,” explained Pat Richard. The Subaru Rally Team Canada car had developed transmission problems on the second stage, culminating in the loss of the two gears. At service, the Rocket Rally crew were able to replace the transmission and get the pair back onto the road. Their troubles were not to end there, however, as right off the start line of stage six, the propshaft failed and the car limped in two wheel drive for most of the stage.


Antoine L’Estage has also been having trouble. With a flat rear tire and an oil leak, the Concerto crew had plenty to keep them busy before checking into the time control. On stage three, a rear control arm on the Hyundai failed, causing the team to lose time on the stage before getting to service. With that repaired, Antoine and co-driver Nathalie Richard got back out on the stages only to have the car develop a boost leak. “It’s been a BAD day at the office,” offered L’Estage. “Normally, Friday night is where I win this rally, but now we have lost time, so I will have to go at maximum attack tomorrow.”


Ken Block, visiting from the US in an effort to further develop the new 2008 Subaru Impreza STI, arrived on a complete flat. He and co-driver Alex Gelsomino are also at the event for two-pass recce experience in preparation for upcoming PWRC events, but were not entirely satisfied with their efforts. “The second stage is really tricky, and hard to note,” explained Ken. Early into stage three, Ken swung wide and hit a bridge, damaging the body of his car and flatting a rear tire. Despite the difficulty, Ken was able to pick up the pace and move into first at the day’s end.


Andrew Comrie-Picard was doing well while having to re-adapt to his older EVO IV. “The brakes are totally different than my EVO IX,” explained ACP. After stage three, ACP found himself tied for first place with Crazy Leo Urlichich.


“We were going along and then we were missing a line in the notes, so that got pretty crazy. It’s going good,” smiled Leo, clearly happy with how his day was going. Unfortunately, reports have come in that Leo was at the side of a stage, and likely out with mechanical problems. ACP also failed to finish with an electrical problem forcing him out of the event.

Mathieu L’Estage was having issues with oil leaking from the rear suspension. Able to make it to service, L’Estage got help from the Losiers and drove well on the last three stages, moving up to third by the end of the night. “I will continue just like today, and get more time in the car.”

Having completed the treacherous Friday night stages, the remaining teams are getting a second chance tomorrow to push for a top result. Crews have about 100 kms of stages remaining, including two runs over the infamous jump. We'll be sure to let you know just how far all of your favourites fly!

Here’s a list of some of the troubles other teams have had today.

Jon Nichols – Finished all six stages but melted a piston and withdrew.
Tim O’Neil – Spotted on stage one, with manifold or downpipe problems.
Zebe Szeczyk – failed to make a T left at the end of a 900 m straight. Back on road and still running.
Nicola Narini – damaged suspension on second stage, made it to service and repaired car.
Francisco Pereira – Hit a deer early and retired.









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One Response to “Block Bashes Bridges to Take Rally Lead”

  1. kaley Robertson court

    29. Jun, 2008

    heyy its mee…again..anyways like you said it…CAMP BRULE SPECTATOR AREA IS THE BEST!!!this rallye was like my birthday gift(26th of june)and a great gift!!thank you again …and the teams might hate it but the technical diffficulties just make it a tad more exciting…like example:the jump in the 5th range on saturday.A few teams came to the “scary hill”with a flat tire or evan none at all and still put on a good show!I just couldnt get over this years rallye…its one that will never be forgotten!
    kaley robertson court

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