CALGARY (May 30, 2010) –Canadian Rally Championship hopefuls Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard turned a late spring snow storm and slick driving conditions in the Alberta foothills to their advantage to post a dominant win in the second round of the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship.
The team, from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, navigated ice, snow and mud to end the two-day event with more than two minutes in hand over second-place rivals and Yokohama team mates Pat Richard, of Squamish, B.C., and co-driver Allan Ockwell of Toronto.
First rain, then snow, turned the roads into treacherous paths for the teams and put a premium on clever tire choice, explains co-driver Nathalie. “We started Friday with slushy snow over mud on the roads, but it worked out fantastic. We built a big lead after three stages,” she relates.
Both L’Estage (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) and Pat Richard (Subaru WRX STi) drew from their selection of specialized Yokohama tires to cope with the changing conditions that challenged teams and tested rally organizers’ efforts to get marshals and emergency personnel to their stations for the competition’s special stages. Several stages had to be cancelled because of the conditions.
With maximum points from the Rocky Mountain Rally, L’Estage holds second place in the Canadian title chase behind Laval, Quebec’s Bruno Carré, winner of the first event of the season and third place finisher at Rocky. Both L’Estage and Pat Richard are previous Canadian rally driving champions.
Despite their victory, there will be no time to rest for L’Estage/Richard, as the team has to rush back across the continent to contest the fifth round of the premier US series, the Susquehannock Trail rally in Pennsylvania on June 4, 2010 – an event L’Estage won in 2008. L’Estage/Richard lead the Rally America national championship in the US and top the North American Rally Cup standings.
In addition to its sponsorship of both L’Estage/Nathalie Richard and Pat Richard/Ockwell, Yokohama Canada is a supporting sponsor of the Canadian Rally Championship. The Canadian championship has been televised nationally on TSN and RDS since 1993, and is made available on multiple media platforms, including TSN 2, as downloads from iTunes, on-line on Flat Over Crest (www.flatovercrest.com) and to 80 million homes in Europe on MotorsTV.
Yokohama Tire (Canada) Inc. markets and distributes a full line of tires for high performance, passenger car, light truck, and commercial truck applications, as well as off-the-road tires for mining, forestry and construction applications. It maintains distribution centres across Canada to serve more than 700 independent tire dealers and more than 2,000 retail locations.