L’Estage and Richard win Rallye Perce Neige

Posted on 05. Feb, 2012 by in Canadian Rally Champs, CRC 2012, Event Coverage, Perce Neige 2012

So much of what decides the Rallye Perce Neige happens after the sun sets, and teams take on the final leg, including the legendary Tortue stage. The final stages saw one team charge up the order and onto the podium, two experienced teams also made it to the front, while one crew rolled their car from second down to eighth. Heading into the final stages, Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard held a commanding lead. They had started the day by taking the lead, and had build a greater and greater margin heading into the second half of the day. “It can be difficult to keep your concentration on those long night stages,” said L'Estage. Difficult or not, L'Estage and Richard showed why the trophy shelves at home are built so strongly, winning the rally. It is L'Estage's fifth win at Perce Neige, and Richard's 100th career start. “It's great to win here, and everything just works,” said Richard. “It's also nice to have lots of snow on the roads, unlike last weekend at Sno*Drift [in Michigan].” However, the teams behind were not always so composed. Crazy Leo Urlichich and Carl Williamson were clawing their way back up the order after taking penalties and throwing the car into a telephone pole – an accident that caused no injury and no mechancial damage to the car aside from mangled bodyowrk – and looked as if they might catch third place Sylvain and Simon Vincent. In fact, they did make up the time, and finished second after a rival lost concentration, with unfortunate consequences. “It's incredible. After everything we've gone through today, to have such a good finish is amazing,” said Urlichich, who finished second. “We all made mistakes, but we tried so hard and it has paid off. Bruno Carre and Yvan Joyal, who typically have good form and speed on ice and snow, rolled their car in the final stages, eventually getting back on the wheels and continuing, but not before dropping a lot of time and six positions, finishing eighth. Meanwhile, the Vincent father-son team stuck to a strategy that shows why father Sylvain is aiming for a top ten ranking in lifetime driver standings. “You have to be careful, like I said thins morning,” said Sylvain. “I thought we would get top five, but third is much better and gives really good points for my goal for the lifetime standings.” Further down the order, Peter Kocandrle and Angela Cosner finished as the top two wheel drive car, 40 minutes back from the leaders, but 40 minutes up on their closest rival. “Everything was great until the last four stages,” said Kocandrle. “We had a flat and had to change it, then we caught another car, and the spun in front of us and then backed into us, breaking one of our lights.” Nevertheless, Kocandrle, who has support from Open Road Motorsports for the season, is thrilled by the result, and is looking forward to a busy 2012. “I'm hoping to do all four Eastern Canadian nationals and maybe two US events, and try to go for the North American championship.” Warren Haywood and John Hall wrapped up the Production GT class, the only non-Open class car in the top ten, finishing ninth overall. Simon Losier, who was not in his usual car, was nevertheless smooth enough to get he and co-driver Brian Maxwell into a fifth place finish, just ahead of Joel Levac and Stephanie Lewis, in sixth. So many teams reported triangles, and cars off the road, fans were wondering who was going to make it to the finish. The Rallye Perce Neige is always demanding and even finishing is an achievement. “The Tortue stage is the biggest challenge in Canada. To finish it is an achievement,” said Clerk of the Course, Sylvain Erickson. “To see the speeds everyone was going was incredible. It was a great rally and great conditions.” The Canadian Rally Championship next goes to Alberta, for the Rocky Mountain Rally in late May. Rocky has wildly unpredictable weather, and in the past four years, we've seen everything from bright hot sunny days to cold slush and snow to mud. Be sure to join us!

One Response to “L’Estage and Richard win Rallye Perce Neige”

  1. Nick Mathew

    05. Feb, 2012

    Great coverage guys. Awesome to see Vincent on the podium and for Leo to have made it all the way back must have been incredible to watch all day!

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