Sep 07

Canadian Rally Championship: Antoine L’Estage wins Rallye Défi for record-setting eighth time

The result marks L’Estage’s eighth victory in the last ten editions.

Claude LamoureuxAntoine L’Estage (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) and Alan Ockwell (Toronto) of the Yokohama Canada Rally Team won the 2014 edition of the Rallye Défi by winning every stage of the rally.

“It’s been a textbook rally for us,” said L’Estage. “We did have some problems with the car today, so we had to turn down the boost to make sure it stayed reliable to the finish.

“The Yokohama tires were really good in the rough stuff yesterday and today. I’ve been with them for ten years, and they’re a big part of our success.”

L’Estage and Ockwell started to compete together earlier this year, the pair quickly settling into a winning rhythm. The two have a good lead in the championship standings at the halfway point in the series.

Martin Rowe (Whistler, B.C.) and Nathalie Richard (Halifax) contested Rallye Défi as their first event competing together. The Subaru Rally Team Canada duo debuted the new 2015 Subaru Impreza STI rally car. Despite some teething issues that at points caused the team to drop out of a podium position, a late charge on the final loop of stages was enough to claim second place.

“It’s fantastic to come second for the debut of the car,” said Rowe. “Everyone has worked really hard to get us here. It’s not been easy, and obviously our first event together as a team. The car has a lot of potential so we’ll be able to find more speed ahead of the next event.

“A big thank you to the guys at Rocket Rally and to Nathalie for doing an amazing job all weekend.”


Third place went to Joël Levac and Stéphanie Lewis of Rivière-Beaudette, Que. The result matched their finishing position from the Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs two months ago. Driving a MINI Countryman, the two found they were forced to push themselves faster than ever before.

“Martin [Rowe] has lots of experience and he really pushed us,” said Levac. “It was great to be pushed so hard, and to be able to compare times and see where we can do better. So thank you to him for helping to give me a target to chase.”

The two wheel drive class was full of strong competition.

Chris Greenhouse (Cincinnati, OH) and Billy Irvin (Puyallup, WA) drove through rough conditions on the first day of racing to carve out a small lead over their rivals. The team built on their advantage over the balance of the first day to a lead of two minutes. Through the second day of racing, the pair slowed their pace to maintain position without taking any chances.

“After the first stage, myself, Simon Dubé and Will Hudson were all about a second apart,” said Greenhouse. “We managed to stay clean without taking any real damage to the car, and built our lead from there. Today was all about playing defence and managing that lead.”

Boris Djordjevic of Edmonton and Keith Morison of Calgary won the Production 4WD class, finishing 11th overall.

The Rallye Défi is the third round of the Canadian Rally Championship. Held near Mont Tremblant, Quebec, the event featured over 175km of competitive special stages split over two days of racing. Dry weather on day one gave way to storms in the evening that persisted through much of Saturday. The Rallye Défi is the final round of the 2014 season taking place in Québec.

The Canadian Rally Championship is comprised of six events held nationwide in a season that extends from February to November. The series is presented by Subaru Canada, supported by Yokohama Tire Canada and features a contingency program from Subaru Canada. The Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS) is the official sanctioning body for rallying in Canada.

Rally car racing is often described simply as “real cars, real roads, real fast.” The all-season
motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over closed-road courses that typically cover more than 150 kilometers of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads. Fans can get up close to the cars in the service areas and catch all the action from specially designated spectator points located at the best spots on the route.

Full coverage of the championship will air on RDS and TSN. Check local listings.

For more information: www.carsrally.ca or www.rallyedefi.com

Stay up to date with the Canadian Rally Championship by following the series on social media


Rallye Défi Final Results
1. Antoine L’Estage – Alan Ockwell – one hour, 30 minutes, 01.8 seconds
2. Martin Rowe – Nathalie Richard – 1:33:30.5
3. Joël Levac – Stéphanie Lewis – 1:33:33.8
4. Maxime Labrie – Anick Barrette – 1:34:20.1
5. Jean-Sebastien Besner – Yvan Joyal – 1:35:48.0
6. Sylvain Vincent – Simon Vincent – 1:37:33.8
7. Marc Bourassa – Daniel Paquette – 1:38:00.4
8. Martin Donnelly – Angela Cosner – 1:44:27.6
9. Chris Greenhouse – Billy Irvin – 1:47:04.9
10. Simon Dubé – Pat Lavigne – 1:49:11.0

source: Service Presse, poleposition.ca