Championship up for Grabs at Pacific Forest Rally

Posted on 17. Oct, 2008 by in Pacific Forest Rally 2008

Pfr_08_ahp_0181 has arrived in Merritt, BC for round five of the Canadian Rally Championship, the Pacific Forest Rally. First run in 2002, the rally takes place throughout the Nicola Valley and is run over two days. Twenty five cars have arrived in town ready to take on the mountain stages.

“It’s my first time to this rally, and the roads are amazing,” said Simon Losier. “We did have to do some of the recce at night, and that was very difficult, but we’re looking forward to the stages.” Losier is currently the top ranked Mitsubishi and his closest three competitors are all absent from this event. Whatever points Losier can find here will extend his lead in the Mitsubishi Cup, a championship open to all Mitsubishi drivers with a cash prize at the end of the season.


Pat Richard and Antoine L’Estage are both on hand. A strong finish by Pat secures the Canadian Rally Championship, but Antoine knows that any mistake by Pat represents an opportunity for L’Estage. “This event has been very good for me in the past, and I hope we can continue that this year,” says L’Estage.

Mitsubishi driver Andrew Comrie-Picard has opted to skip PFR in favour of running the final round of the Rally America series in Michigan, Lake Superior Performance Rally.

Gord Olsen and Norm LeBlanc will also be battling it out in Open class, both in Rocket Rally prepared Subaru Imprezas. Eric Grochowski and Leanne Junnila are hoping to secure the national championship for Group 2 in their VW GTI. The two had hoped to lock up the title last month at the Rallye Defi 2008, but suffered numerous mechanical problems all culminating in a DNF.

Jan and Jody Zedril are here in their Production 3 Lancer Evolution. The two are 2007 and 2008 class champions both in the Rally America Championship, and the North American Rally Championship. Despite their successes, they have yet to secure a Canadian title and last year rolled on the Active Mountain stage.

Pacific Forest Rally is also a unique event on the Canadian Rally Championship for it’s inclusion of the PIAA Eco Challenge. A voluntary competition open to all teams, the challenge monitors fuel usage by teams and rewards the crew who goes the fastest with the least amount of fuel.

The weather in Merritt has cleared after a rainy morning. The forecast remains positive, calling for sun tomorrow. Stages start tonight and include the infamous Princeton Cutoff stage. Not always popular with the drivers, the stage features deep ruts and large Cliffside exposures as it winds along the side of the mountain. At the end of the night, teams will run two passes on the Railyard Mall Super Special, right in the middle of Merritt.

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3 Responses to “Championship up for Grabs at Pacific Forest Rally”

  1. Tom Schofield

    22. Oct, 2008

    I think you might have missed a great story of the other team that is going for the western grp 2 championship Isarally, Kris and Jaclyn. They ran a great rally over coming great hardship, like racing with a broken foot and still running very quick stages.
    just a proud dad
    Tom Schofield
    his story is below
    Here is what my PFR pretty much was. This was my first time competing at this event. I have worked the event, Serviced for teams and photographed it.
    So PFR had it’s ups and downs.. Friday Night on SS1 we hit a big rock crushed the exhaust, but more damaging was i bent the drive shaft. there was a wicked shake to it right after. but stupid me, i didn’t bring the spare. 3 more stages and then service. A friend of mine who lives in Vancouver who is slowly building a corolla just showed up in Merritt at the service hault and asked how things were going. Heard the story about the drive shaft, then turned around back to Van and picked his up. I had it installed by 1:15am at the overnight stop. At this point we had a close to one minute lead over our closest competitor for the national portion of the rally.
    Day 2 started with stages we have never competed on before. 2 stages run twice in a loop. After the first loop about 22kms in total for the 2 we pulled a futher 3 seconds ahead. and one of the stages we were 9th over all only 1 sec behind an open class evo 8. The 2nd time through the stages weren’t so good. My co driver got behind by one corner at the wrong time. 7 kms into SS11 was call a 6R.. (my notes are 1 the tightest and 6 is flat out) What was the next corner in the notes but being one corner behind just at that spot was a 2R !! slippy mud. We ended up being 15 feet off the road in what lucky was a clearcut. But the mud was too deep and while trying driving out we we hit a berm and high centred the car. So we had to wait until sweep showed up and a quick pull we were back on the road but had lost about 16 minutes. the lead and the chance to secure the Western Canadian Championship for our class. After that the next stage, service and the next 3 stages went well. we clawed back some time.
    On SS16 we set a personal best and the 6th fastest time. but we hit a rock and broke the right rear wheel, surprisingly the tire didn’t go flat. On the road section we had to pull over and change it since it was hitting the suspension. The car was up on the jack and the tire was off just about to put the new one on and the jack started to fall. So i started to brace, push the car to keep it from falling. I felt i pop/ snap in my foot. Then it felt like jello. then the obscenities that described the pain started to come out of my mouth. Continuing to push the car up we finally got the wheel on and drove back to service. on the way to service i discovered i could not press the brake pedal with my right foot. and the gas was a little sketchy. I grabbed a new spare at service and put on the lights for the last 2 stages (almost 50kms of stages) of the rally.
    Unsure how my foot will be i gave it the best i could. Half way through the stage i got sight of the car that started a minute in front of us. by the end of the stage we had made up 40 some seconds on him but could hardly see due to the hanging dust. It was like driving with a pillow case over your face. 3 times we almost went off the road. The next stage was a repeat of that one. but this time is was dark. we swapped places with the car in front of us and the one infront of them to see if we could avoid the dust. With no wind in the air the dust was hanging around. And with the lights on visibility was almost zero. about 500m from the ens of the stage we hit a rock with the right front and got a slow leak. it lasted to the end of the stage. We drove it down to the end of the gravel and changed it on the pavement. and then drove to the end of the rally, declared our time in and the rally was finally over.
    The Awards banquet We got a surprise. We had forgotten with all our drama we had won regional 1 (friday night stages) in our class, so we got the trophy for that. The next morning my foot was big. I got a ride over to the hospital where I got it x-rayed andand it turns out i had broken the 2nd metatarsal in my right foot. Not too nice when i had a 700km tow back to Calgary.
    Next Event is the Kananaskis Rally Nov 8-9. I am hoping my foot will fit into my shoe by then and i will have some money from being off work with no pay since i can barely walk to the washroom right now.
    Thaks for reading

    Kris Schofield

  2. Dean

    23. Oct, 2008

    Hi Tom,
    I had a chance to first meet Kris at Defi this year, and it was great to watch him pedal the Toyota at PFR.
    I never heard about his broken foot until after the rally, and after we posted up. certainly, it was a hell of an event for the pair, and I am sorry we were unable to get the whole story out. It’s always a challenge with so many stories at every event!
    Rest assured, I’ll be keeping my eyes on Kananaskis to see how things shape up!
    Thanks for the read from Kris!

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    16. Sep, 2009

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