Tuesday, September 14, 2010

North American title and record-book finish for L’Estage at Rallye Défi

RIPON, Quebec (September 13, 2010) – It was almost a perfect weekend for rally driver Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard as they dominated the 2010 Rallye Défi from start to finish and clinched the competition with a win, a title and a new record.

This is the fifth win at Défi for the pair from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, beating the four-time record of John Buffum and Tom Grimshaw in the 1980s. The win also clinches the North American rally title for the team and vaults them to within three points of the lead for the Canadian Rally Championship with two events remaining.

“Everything went really well this weekend,” said L’Estage. “We had a few small problems with the brakes on Friday, but we pushed hard on the first two stages Friday morning so we would build a big enough lead heading into the afternoon. The strategy paid off. After that, it was just a matter of managing our lead. Everything was great with the car.”

The Rallye Défi is the fourth round of the Canadian Rally Championship. The win was crucial for L’Estage and Richard to stay in the points for the Canadian Rally Championship. The duo struggled to a sixth-place finish at the Rallye Baie des Chaleurs. They are now in second place in the points standings.

L’Estage’s Yokohama teammate, Pat Richard and co-driver Alan Ockwell came in second in the competition and have taken over the championship lead. They suffered a flat tire early in the event that cost them valuable time, and they were unable to claw their way back because of minor problems late on the second day. Despite this disappointment, Richard is upbeat. “We’re leading the championship right now, so it was a great result,” he said.

Rallye Défi is renowned for its challenging dirt and gravel road conditions. Both Yokohama teams ran on Yokohama ADVAN A053e gravel rally tires. “They were absolutely perfect on these roads,” said L’Estage.

In addition to its sponsorship of Antoine L’Estage/Nathalie Richard and Pat Richard/Allan 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.