Richard leads dusty Rocky Mountain Rally

Posted on 29. May, 2009 by in Rocky Mountain Rally 2009

The Subaru Rally Team Canada pairing of Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell took an early lead during the first day of action at the 2009 Rocky Mountain Rally in Calgary. The pair head into tomorrow's stages with a 17 second lead over Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard.

L'Estage and Richard started the day first on the road in their Mitsubishi Evolution X. The pair were slowed by having to sweep the loose gravel from the surface of the road and quickly lost time to Richard and Ockwell.

After two stages, the teams were reseeded with the Richard Ockwell pairing out front. The tables were turned, and Antoine was able to claw back some time.

“It's not a huge difference between first and second on the road,” said Pat Richard.

The Rocky Mountain Rally is the only event in the Canadian Rally Championship where organizers provide notes rather than letting teams create personalized notes.

“We could be a lot faster with our own notes,” said Antoine L'Estage, “but we just can't commit the same way with the notes we have here.”

The top five teams are all running on two minute intervals, as opposed to the one minute gap given to teams further down the order – something that made a huge difference for the brother sister team of Nick and Kelly Mathew. The pair started the day in 11th, but moved up to fifth after the reseed

“The two minute window was a huge difference for us,” said Nick. “Partway through one stage, we caught the dust of Warren Currie, but after the reseed, it was fine.”

The Mathew car finished the day in fifth place, and are the top ranked novice, well ahead of second place novice, Piotr Kadlubowski who sits one minute, 20 seconds adrift.

Andrew Comrie-Picard and Robbie Durant maintained a third place through the day. The Mitusbishi Evolution X the pair are running is still in development, and has only been used for the 2008 Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ont. Durant has been co-driving for Comrie-Picard in the US as part of the Rally America and they are enjoying success they hope will translate across the border.

For Pat Richard, this event represents a milestone – ten years from his first rally.

“If you'd told me back then that I would be leading this rally and working with such a great team, I'd never have believed you,” said Richard. “I remember everything from that first event.”

[1999: Rocket Rally - complete with roof rack!]

After three stages run on Powderface trail, teams returned to Calgary for head to head racing action at the Race City superspecial. Organizers opted to cancel the second running, and the final match was that of L'Estage versus Richard. The two were nearly even over the first interval, but Richard ultimately won the stage.

In two wheel drive, the Mitsubishi Lancer of Zbigniew Szewczyk is leading. In Group 2, Jan and Jody Zedril are leading rivals Eric Grochowski and Leanne Junnila.

The lone retirement was Mark Jennings-Bates, whose Subaru suffered a blown engine on the second stage of the day.

Teams will trailer to the Skyline Ranch service park in the morning, and the first stage starts just before 10am Mountain Time





4 Responses to “Richard leads dusty Rocky Mountain Rally”

  1. Andrew Harvey

    30. May, 2009

    Hey Guys, great job so far!
    I wish I could be out there rather than back in Ontario with a busted-up arm.
    Good luck and stay upwind of the dust!

  2. Ivan Bütikofer

    30. May, 2009

    I’m all with you Andrew, I wish I was there. Stuck at home in the rain, mising Rocky for the first time in 6 years. Doctors orders…
    Keep the updates coming, good work

  3. Piotr

    30. May, 2009

    I wish we have better information about the stages prior the race. I have missed the action because of that. I do understand that controlling the public and the safety is the priority, but I do not see the point to drive to Black Diamont at 9AM while the most interesting stage is on Powder Face more then an 1hr away.
    Thanks for your information you were better than the organizes who never publish any details about the race prior the start as they promissed

  4. Dave Shindle

    30. May, 2009

    Thanks for the updates and photos. Wishing I was there.

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