Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell of Subaru Rally Team Canada claimed a victory at the final round of the 2012 Canadian Rally Championship, the Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ontario.
Richard and Ockwell finally won an event after a season full of mechanical problems continually sidelined the team. Although the pair were unable to contest the Canadian Rally Championship, they were elated at how Tall Pines played out.
“On the very last set of stages, we both got flats on the long stage. I drove mine out, he stopped on the stage to change it,” recalled Richard, of the late event drama.
The consequence of driving on the flat was a damaged brake system, which was further compounded by a brake fire.
“We kept the car on the road and the plan of keeping it steady today, and pushing where it matters… paid off,” said Richard.
Despite the problems late in the rally, the pair capitalized on the misfortune of others.
Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, who had been leading the event well into the afternoon had problems of their own. The team arrived in service with broken suspension, and one wheel dragging on the ground. The Rockstar team’s crew immediately jumped in, repairing the car, but the time lost on the road meant the lead was cut from nearly a minute to just five seconds.
L’Estage knew that he would need to push to keep his lead, but the flat caused the pair to lose a significant amount of time, ultimately costing the team a fifth victory this season.
“That’s not the way I wanted to finish the season,” said L’Estage. “I wanted to win, but we had some problems. It’s a good season overall; six rallies, four wins and two second places overall. Congrats to Pat and Alan and the Subaru team. They had a tough season so good for them.”
In a rally marked by heavy attrition, Ugo Desgreniers and Erik Kirby climbed up the order to claim third place. The team had endured problems of their own, but persevered to the finish.
“I feel really great because it was a really hard rally for us. We had problems with the car for the second half of the rally. By the end we had no brakes, and no fourth gear, but it as so much fun to drive.”
Fourth place went to Ryan Huber and John Vanos, a career best at a national event. The two also clinched the Ontario Performance Rally Championship.
“This is pretty awesome,” said Huber. “Everything went pretty well for us. We had a couple of moments, but got a great finish at a really tough rally.”
Alexandre and Nicholas Ouellette finished fifth overall, and first in the Production GT class. Martin Walter and Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff finished 11th overall, first in two wheel drive, while Eric Grochowski and Leanne Junnila finished second in two wheel drive, claiming the national class championship.
The Canadian Rally Championship will return in February 2013, giving teams just a couple of months to prepare for a whole new season of excitement.