Richard and L’Estage dogfight at Pines

Posted on 21. Nov, 2009 by in Perce Neige 2009


Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell of Subaru Rally Team Canada held a two second lead after the second service at the 2009 Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ontario.

Richard is also in a fight for the overall 2009 Canadian Rally Championship, and needs a win to secure his best chance at earning another title. After a roll in testing last night, Richard admitted that he wasn't totally on pace this morning.

“I was a little rattled after last night, but we're getting back into it,” said Richard during the second service on Saturday. “The Peanut stage was really rough and muddy, but at least right now you can still stop and turn.”

Richard is in a battle with Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard in their Rockstar Mitsubishi EVO X. For L'Estage to earn the Canadian Rally Championship, the team needs to finish in second place, even if Richard wins.

“We're two seconds behind Pat right now,” said L'Estage. “We're 24 seconds ahead of ACP, and trading times with Pat, so everything is good.”


L'Estage has shown discipline in the past to drive smart with the Championship in mind, but he's got more to contend with at Tall Pines. Frank and Dan Sprongl are driving a second factory Subaru car, with the aim to help secure the manufacturers title for Subaru.

“I do have a leash on,” said Frank. “The goal is to capture the manufacturers title, not to win.”

Nevertheless, a second place finish by Sprongl and a win by Richard will hand the Canadian Rally Championship to Richard and Ockwell, for a second consecutive national title. Sprongl is fourth, about a minute adrift of the leaders.

“We can gain and build a little more speed, but it's been about two years since I have driven on gravel,” said Sprongl.

Andrew Comrie-Picard and Jeremy Wimpey suffered problems over the first two stages.

“We broke a wheel on the first stage, and then had a flat on the second stage,” said Comrie-Picard. “We're really driving at the limit, our margin is almost non-existent. We're just trying to get everythign out of the car.”

“Check!” said Wimpey.

Craig Henderson and Lyne Murphy retired after Henderson became sick, similar to what happened last year.

“At the end of the Peanut, I started to feel sick just like last year,” said Henderson.

Maxime Losier has shown surprising speed early in the day.

“I came here to learn to be more technical, so maybe it's working out more quickly than I thought,” said Losier, whose brother Simon is typically the faster driver.

The Zedrils are proving to be extremely fast, walking away with Gr2, though neither of them feel like it.

“We're not on the pace,” said Jody Zedril. “Not sure what's up, but we're just not in it. These roads are really different than the faster more open roads on the rally, so maybe we just need to adjust more.”

Usual rivals Peter Kocandrle and Jimmy Brandt are trying to stay clean.

“I really got a sense of how much work it was to repair the car after Defi,” said Kocandrle. “We're still taking really aggressive lines, but we're not going into them 100%.”

Leo Urlichich continued to have problems, dropping down the order after engine management problems cut power.

Chris Martin and Phil Narini are in a tight battle with Nick and Kelly Mathew for the Ontario Performance Rally Championship. Whichever team wins the event will also win the title, and both teams have suffered problems so far.


“We got stuck in a rut on the Peanut,” said Martin, whose car was missing a driver's side window and mirror, netting up instead. “We also had a flat, and lost boost on the first stage.

“We cut a coolant hose on the first stage and it actually caught fire, but we were able to get everything repaired,” said Mathew.

The two are about 45 seconds apart, with the Mathew's eager to make up time.

Targa veterans Roy Hopkins and Adrianne Hughes decided to try their hands at a gravel event, opting for a VW Golf rather than their BMW.

“We're doing a great job with the notes,” said Hopkins. “There's deep mud, but we just need to keep the car moving.”

There's another 150kms of stages to go, with plenty of action ahead.



Photos by Dean Campbell

3 Responses to “Richard and L’Estage dogfight at Pines”

  1. Pete Pollard

    21. Nov, 2009

    great, fast coverage of epic battle! thanks foc

  2. Thanks for the great coverage of the event!

  3. BradyAce

    12. Aug, 2011


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