February 8, 2011
by Canadian Automotive Review staff
MANIWAKI, QC: Subaru teams dominated the field at the opening event of the 2011 Canadian Rally Championship, taking nine of the 10 top places in the grueling Rallye Perce Neige near Maniwaki, Quebec. The overall winning team of Antoine L’estage and Nathalie Richard drove a Mitsubishi Evo X, however.
Subaru Rally Team Canada driver Patrick Richard and stand in co-driver Leanne Junnila went on the attack from the beginning, setting a blistering pace. In spite of an early one-minute penalty, after eight stages less than a minute separated Richard from rival Antoine L’Estage. Unfortunately, a broken wheel cost Richard seven minutes, and despite an aggressive charge in the final stages he was forced to settle for fourth position while L’Estage claimed the win.
“Naturally it’s disappointing to have won so many stages and fall short of the victory, but Subaru as a manufacturer dominated this tough event and it feels great to be part of that,” said Richard. “We’re in good shape as we look forward to the rest of the season, and we’re ready to put up a fight for each and every event.”
The top ten finishers were:
Antoine L’Estage – Nathalie Richard – two hours, 22 minutes, 33.6 seconds
Bruno Carre – Yvan Joyal – 2:28:35.9
Ugo Desgreniers – Erik Kirby – 2:29:04.3
Pat Richard – Leanne Junnila – 2:29:51.1
Craig Henderson – Peter Watt – 2:30:07.8
Mathieu Dube – Eric Losier – 2:34:05.5
Marc Bourassa – Daniel Paquette – 2:34:59.2
Nicola Narini – Massimo Narini – 2:38:48.6
L. Maxime Rochefort – Jerome Milette – 2:38:54.4
Sylvain Vincent – Simon Vincent – 2:40:22.2
The next race in 2011 season will be May 26-27, at the Rocky Mountain Rally, headquartered in Calgary.