Richard keeps title hopes alive with win at PFR

Posted on 03. Oct, 2009 by in Pacific Forest Rally 2009

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Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell charged hard over the final stages of the 2009 Pacific Forest Rally to retain the lead and earn maximum championship points.

Richard and Ockwell had been leading by nearly a minute heading into the final service, when technical problems caused them to check out of service late, and take 50 seconds in penalties, cutting the lead down to three seconds.

Heading into the final stages of the rally, Richard and Ockwell went flat out and beat the Helmer stage record and the 13-minute mark on all three passes.

“It's fun to go out and set good times, that's what it's all about,” said Richard.

For championship rival Antoine L'Estage, the plan for Pacific Forest Rally took a longer view.

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“The plan from the beginning was to try to think about the championship,” said L'Estage. “It was very tempting to get into an all out battle on those final stages, but I had to think about the championship.”

For L'Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard, a second place finish at the final event of the season will be enough to clinch the 2009 title, removing the pressure to win.

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Behind these two titans, a battle raged for third place. Scott Trinder entered the final two stages with a 23 second lead over Simon Losier. Colin Armstrong was also very close, and a threat to take third overall.

Losier had been making up time on Trinder, enough that he stood a reasonable chance to take the position until a flat cost him time on the final stage.

“I think we lost a minute, maybe a minute and a half,” said Losier. “On the first pass, we had actually moved into third.”

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Colin Armstrong also suffered a flat tire, but wasn't able to drive it out and lost close to five minutes stopping to change it.

“It was the front left, so I had to stop and change it,” said Armstrong. “I couldn't turn the car.”

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Trinder would end up claiming third place, his first national podium, and the highest ranked privateer Subaru.

“I can't believe how things went,” said Trinder. “I really thought we weren't going to be on the podium. I am just totally stoked.”

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Losier managed to keep fourth place, ahead of Mark Jennings-Bates and Jennifer Daly in fifth.

Jan and Jody Zedril finished sixth, the fastest two wheel drive car in the event.

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“We've gotten to a point with the competition now, that you realize you really have to risk to find those extra seconds,” said Jan.

The risk paid off, with the pair securing the Group 2 title.

Graham Bruce and co-driver Ryan Warrington secured the top novice finish with their eighth place finish.

Five cars retired from the event. The first was Gord Olsen, as a result of a damaged shifter cable that left him with only first, third and fifth gears. Leo Urlichich retired on the AMR stage when he pushed too hard heading into a corner and drove off the course, down a hill. Aaron Neumann lost his transmission and Peter Kadlubowski retired in service after the AMR stages with brake failure. Mehran Arefi and Dan McLean were forced to retire late in the rally.

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Heading into the final round of the Canadian Rally Championship, the Rally of the Tall Pines, Richard and L'Estage will be down to the wire for the title. If Richard wins the final round, L'Estage can finish no worse than second to earn the title of 2009 Canadian Rally Champion.

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4 Responses to “Richard keeps title hopes alive with win at PFR”

  1. Lawrence Partington

    04. Oct, 2009

    Best coverage ever FOC! It was a source of really timely info. The stff the scores don’t show. Even the scoring team And top competitors were following your Twitter feeds
    Thanks for the seminar, Warwick.

  2. Shawn

    04. Oct, 2009

    Awesome coverage, it was great to be able to follow from home.
    Thanks guys!

  3. adam harvey

    04. Oct, 2009

    The rocket rally legacy is showing some nice camber 😀

  4. Simon

    06. Oct, 2009

    Thanks for the great coverage again. It was great to meet most of the FOC crew in Merritt, even if it was snowing and a bit cold.

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