Troubles Ending for Top Crews

Posted on 28. Jun, 2008 by in Baie-des-Chaleurs 2008

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As crews get into the shorter stages there seems to be less punishment to the top cars. While gaps are opening up near the top of the order, other battles are still raging further down the standings.

Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino have opened up a steady lead after a mostly trouble free run today. The pair now sit in a secure first place, with a lead of almost two minutes, thirty seconds. Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell are safe in a second place position, about one minute ahead of the hard charging Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard. The Subaru Rally Team Canada car seems to have most of its troubles behind. “We’re still in it, and in second place, so I’m thankful,” commented Pat Richard.

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard have clawed their way back up the order to secure third place after troubles last night dropped them down the results sheet. “We pushed really hard on the two long stages and made up a lot of time. There is no way we can catch Pat, so we will be third,” offered L’Estage. The result means Pat will keep a strong lead in the championship standings going into the second half of the season.

In eighth and ninth place respectively, John Cassidy and David Legault are less than thirty seconds apart. “We lost some time to Legault on one stage when we had a flat, but I think we’ve made it up on the second pass of the long stage, where we were a minute faster,” explained Dave Getchell, co-driver to John Cassidy. For all their speed, the pair had the longest jump, but it came at a cost. “It was the hardest hit in a car while not crashing,” started Getchell, adding “our heads just ping-ponged between the wings on the seat.”

Legault is driving the Mitsubishi EVO IV made an icon by Sylvain Erickson and is showing impressive speed. With about 13 kilometres to go, it will be difficult for Legault to catch the pair from Maine.

A closer battle is raging between Simon Losier and Martin Gauvin. Gauvin was running well earlier in the day until losing second gear and falling back. Now he holds only an eighteen second lead and the team is busily working on the transmission at service. Whoever finishes ahead will finish in the top ten.

The 2 Brits Racing brother sister team of Nick and Kelly Matthew have been driving well and are in fourteenth overall, and secure in position. The pair hit the longest distance on the first pass of the big jump and broke their suspension in the process. The service crew was able to make repairs and get the crew back on the road.

Jen Horsey and Elise Racette also had trouble with broken suspension and are currently back out on the stages, having had their crew fix all the damage.

Some teams have had problems, forcing their retirement. Zebe Szewczyk retired on the second stage of the afternoon with a broken transmission. Tim O’Neil was able to register for the regional portion of the event after failing to complete the stages yesterday, but when last we were at service, the car was again on the trailer.

Teams are out on the final three stages of the day. For some, it will be a matter of survival, and for a few, it will be the staging ground for a final push for position. We’ll have more news and photos soon!

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