L’Estage aims for rally Triple Crown at Pines

Posted on 19. Nov, 2010 by in Canadian Rally Champs, CRC 2010, Event Coverage, Rally News, Tall Pines 2010

Antoine L'Estage has come to the 2010 Rally of the Tall Pines with a cool confidence. Well deserved, considering L'Estage already holds both the Rally America and North American Rally Cup titles for 2010. The Rockstar driver knows it won't be easy with a two car Subaru Rally Team Canada entry set on winning the event. The final event of the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship, L'Estage also comes in the points leader, but with a slim two point margin. If he can secure the Canadian title, he will be the second driver ever to achieve the triple crown, after Pat Richard. Nathalie Richard is the only co-driver ever to accomplish the feat and is hoping to earn her second triple crown. L'Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard know that any mistake here could cost them not only the event win, but also the title. Last year, mechanical problems did just that, a failure in the clutch system sidelining the team on the final stage, costing the event win, as well as both the Canadian and North American titles. The Rockstar team has gone to great lengths to ensure nothing like that happens again. “The car is great, very strong really well prepared for the event,” said L'Estage during shakedown. “Still, being first on the road tomorrow can make things difficult depending on conditions. If we have to brush snow off the surface it's going to make things slow.” L'Estage's chief rival all year has been Pat Richard of Subaru Rally Team Canada, who is defending back to back Canadian Rally Championship titles. Richard is second in the points and needs to beat L'Estage to take his third consecutive title. “The biggest advantage to starting third on the road tomorrow is that Antoine will find the ice for us,” said Richard. “We're behind Craig and his lines aren't great for us, so that won't be a big advantage, but that will all change with the first reseed.” Richard is free to push a little harder for the driver's title after bringing on a teammate for Tall Pines. Martin Rowe, 2003 Production WRC Champion, is driving the second Subaru Rally Team Canada car with a clear mandate to bring home the manufacturer's title. “Pat and I know each other from our time in the PWRC, and have stayed in touch. He called me a few weeks ago, and asked if I could drive. It's been a lot to learn, but things are going well. The car has been really well developed by Pat and we did some testing last week," said Rowe, following shakedown.  "The roads here are so varied, it's going to be really interesting. Some are fast and flowing like Finland, while others get very technical. Doing notes is a bit of a challenge. It has relit something inside of me to be driving again.” There's plenty of other teams to watch during the rally tomorrow. “Crazy” Leo Urlichich is gunning for another podium finish, but before doing that, he took some time to support local charities in Bancroft by auctioning off two rides on the shakedown stage. Raising $805 for the Bancroft sled dog races, Leo is excited at the prospect of doing more of these sorts of programs in the future. Tall Pines has worked to contribute to the Bancroft area by making donations to local charities and will continue to do so with another announcement made tomorrow. Recently, Flatovercrest.com reported that Peter Kocandrle would be driving the open class Hotbits VW Golf at Tall Pines. After the shakedown session the young driver was all smiles at how things had gone. “The car had a few issues, but we've gotten them out of the way, and things should go really well tomorrow,” said Robin Fleguel, who helped bring the deal together to back Kocandrle. Fans will recall the diminutive Suzuki Swift that Peter has driven in the past, this time in the hands of Lance Webb, a newcomer to the sport. As always, tires will play a critical role in how the event plays out. Conditions today were mixed, with plenty of grip in some sections while some were iced over, and even others were soaking wet, or covered in soft dirt. No one is willing to make any call on tires until they see what conditions are like in the morning. The 40th edition of the Rally of the Tall Pines starts tomorrow at 9am, kicking off on the Old Hastings stages. It is also a special weekend for the Sweep Crew, who are participating in their 100th rally, evidence of their massive commitment and dedication to the sport. We'll be keeping you updated throughout the day will everything that is going on here in Bancroft from the 2010 Rally of the Tall Pines.

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments.

Leave a Reply