L’Estage and Richard win Gilles Villeneuve Award
Driving a pair of Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII, Simon Losier with co-driver Brian Maxwell, and Maxime Losier partnered with Philippe Poirier, finished in the top five at the Rallye Perce-Neige, the first round of the Canadian Rally Championship (CRC) held last weekend near Maniwaki in the Upper Gatineau area.
The Synchro Racing teams from Blainville, Que. battled all day on icy and slippery forest roads for a place on the podium but had to settle with fourth and fifth places and only 21 seconds between them. Winners of the first round of the Rally America series a week earlier in their Mitsubishi Evolution, the 2012 North American and CRC champs Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard were leading in the early stages but encountered mechanical issues.
Hardy Schmidtke and John Hall from Alberta finished tenth in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. Ian Crerar and James Drake took 14th place in a Lancer EVO VI while Michelle Laframboise, partnered with co-driver Élise Racette, drove their Evolution IX to 17th.
Gilles Villeneuve Award to L’Estage and Richard
At a Feb.3, 2013 ceremony, L’Estage and Richard were presented the Gilles-Villeneuve Award by AutoSport Québec. The trophy commemorates the legendary driver and honours the 2012 Best Driver in Quebec. L’Estage is the first rally driver in 31 years to receive such honour and Richard the first female.
The next round of the CRC will be held at the end of June in the Gaspe Peninsula with the Rallye Baie des Chaleurs.
The 2013 calendar stills features six events including a location change for the Rocky Mountain Rally, moving from Calgary to Invermere, B.C. on Nov. 1-2.