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Oct 22

ECRC: Jean-Sébastien Besner and Yvan Joyal claim their First victory at Rallye de Charlevoix

Eastern Canadian Rally Championship

RC-Besner-PhotoMDroletThis weekend, the Rallye de Charlevoix, the penultimate round of the 2017 Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC), was held in the Charlevoix region of Quebec.

This year, the always popular rally was celebrating its 30th anniversary since the event’s creation.  A warm day under clear blue skies produced an exciting spectacle, with the overall victory going to Jean-Sébastien Besner and Yvan Joyal (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.8).  After contesting this rally for about twenty years, this was the team’s first overall victory in Charlevoix !

Eleven competitive stages were on the schedule for the 25 entered teams and the anticipated battle between the championship leader Simon Vincent (co-driven by Hubert Gaudreau in a Subaru WRX STI) and the other event favourites held true to form, often with tight margins at the end of the special stages, both those held in the city and in the forest.

As Vincent and Karel Carré, co-driven by Samuel Joyal and also driving a Subaru WRX STI, made their mark by sharing the lead of the rally after the first stages in the town of Clermont, Jean-Sébastien Besner who took over after the third stage and he never looked back.  Besner/Joyal never let up their rhythm during the event as Steeve Hobbs/Philippe Poirier (Subaru WRX STI) were hot on their heels, only a handful of seconds behind the lead team at the end of each competitive stage.  By the end of the rally, 43 seconds separated the top two teams.

For Steeve Hobbs, this second place finish is an excellent result at a rally that has often been unlucky for him.  On the penultimate stage, which started near the Casino de Charlevoix and continued through the heart of the town of La Malbaie, an off-road scare almost prevented Hobbs/Poirier from conserving their eventual second place, finishing just under a minute ahead of Karel Carré and Samuel Joyal, who completed the podium.

The heated battle for fourth place went to Simon Vincent and Hubert Gaudreau, with a tiny margin of only five seconds ahead of Nicolas Laverdière and Vincent Trudel (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.8).

In two wheel drive, American Chris Greenhouse was the overwhelming favourite and he did not disappoint.  Consistently in the top 6 overall, Greenhouse and his co-driver Ryan Scott (Dodge SRT-4) earned the 2WD victory and finished in sixth spot overall.

Behind them in the overall standings were the Subarus of Kuklov/Rosato, McNicoll/Lottin, Dickner/Lagacé and Fred Charlebois/Fanny Houle-Gaudreau, who set the fastest time among all competitors on the final stage.

The 2WD podium was rounded out by Mathieu Leblanc and Alex-Samuel L’Italien-Leblanc, whose aggressive driving of their Honda Civic brought joy to the thousands of spectators on hand, followed by Philippe Benoît/Pat Lévesque (Mini Cooper S) in third place. In total, 19 of the 25 entrants completed this rally.

This edition, and thirtieth anniversary since the Rallye de Charlevoix’s inception, not only crowned a new winner but it also continued the suspense in the battle for the overall ECRC 4 wheel drive champion, with the final event of the season to be held on November 25th.  The classic Rally of the Tall Pines will take place in Bancroft, Ontario.

Two drivers are contenders for the championship title, including Simon Vincent (80 points) and Nicolas Laverdière (74). In two-wheel drive, Mathieu Leblanc has already claimed the driver’s title.

The Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC) is comprised of nine events, all at the regional level, spread out between Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes.

For more information, please visit the site www.ecrc-crec.ca

source: ecrc-crec.ca, photo: Mélanie Drolet / poleposition.ca

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