Throwdown Showdown: Rally of the Tall Pines 2008

Posted on 21. Nov, 2008 by in Tall Pines 2008


The stage is set for the final round of the Canadian Rally Championship – the Rally of the Tall Pines. The teams have been out on their recce passes and are due into the service area any moment. Cold temperatures in the Bancroft, Ontario area mean that roads are frozen, some consisting of frozen gravel, others covered in ice and snow. The 2008 edition of Tall Pines is living up to its reputation of a rally with winter roads and summer ditches!

“I think there will lots of crashes tomorrow,” offered John Vanos, sixth on the road at the start tomorrow. “the forest stages are all snow covered and after a couple of passes, they'll be all ice.”

“It will be tricky for tire choice,” explained Antoine L'Estage. “Conditions are always changing, some gravel, some ice and snow, so your driving always has to change.”

Light snow outside has given way to sunshine and clear conditions. The current weather conditions are expected to hold tomorrow, but the sun won't be enough to raise temps above a forecasted five degrees below zero. This will keep the road surface hard, and perhaps help to ease the usual uncertainty of tire choice at this landmark event.

While the Canadian Rally Championship was won at the Pacific Forest Rally last month by Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell of Subaru Canada, the North American Rally Cup is coming down to the wire here at Tall Pines. Ken Block and Antoine L'Estage are neck and neck in the points standings for the North American Rally Cup and will be battling tomorrow not only for a top result here, but also the North American title.

“Antoine has done really well at Tall Pines, and I have only ever failed,” said Ken Block of the Subaru Rally Team USA. Block has done over fifty rallies over the last few years, and is well aware of the challenges this rally presents. “Tall Pines is probably the most technical rally in North America.” With over forty competitors due to start tomorrow, teams will all discover how technical this rally is.

Before drivers left for recce today, CARS representatives made some unofficial announcements. Next year, crews will be required to use SFI/FIA rated seats and seat belts in their cars. Each will be date checked, and this will also mean no OEM seats will be allowed. To increase safety further, use of a HANS device will be mandatory. Door numbers will also be changed to a smaller horizontal format, much like the ones used in the WRC.

In addition, the Canadian Rally Championship will be getting more exposure. The entire 2008 and 2009 Canadian seasons have been picked up by a European motorsport program and will be aired throughout Europe.

Finally, beginning next year, the Production One, Two and Three classes will be merged into one, and there will be the addition of a Two Wheel Drive championship. is live from Bancroft with all the news from the 2008 Rally of the Tall Pines. We'll be bringing you all the news from this years event, as it happens!

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