May 8, 2017.- As the second of nine rounds in the 2017 Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC), the Lanark Highlands Forest Rally was held this past weekend in Ontario. This event brought together nineteen teams and saw an exciting battle play out for the victory, which eventually went to the Quebec duo of driver Simon Vincent and co-driver Martin Cadieux.
Despite heavy rainfall in the days leading up to the rally, affecting the forest region southwest of Ottawa where the event was being held, the teams were not spared on the ten stages that made up the 2017 edition of the Lanark Highlands Forest Rally. Spectators were witness to a great fight for the lead between the two Quebec teams of Simon Vincent/Martin Cadieux in their Subaru WRX STI, and Nicolas Laverdière/Vincent Trudel. Competing in a production class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution XIII, similar to a series model, the young Laverdière surprised all the favourites and recorded the fastest cumulative time by the midway point of the rally! In the end, Simon Vincent and Martin Cadieux beat Laverdière/Trudel by just under forty seconds.
Completing the podium was Patrick Rainville, organizer of the Rallye Perce-Neige, the inaugural round of the ECRC, held last February. Co-driven by Dominik Dumont in a Subaru WRX STI, Rainville was finally rewarded for his efforts, after several rallies succumbing to mechanical issues while near the front of the pack. This time, he earned third spot overall ahead of Americans Alex Kuklov and Aris Montopoulos, also in a Subaru.
Top placed Ontarian Zoltan Kovacs, co-driven by Quebecker Jonathan Desgroseillers, made their mark at the 2017 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally. Not content with just a fifth place finish overall, they also claimed top two-wheel drive honours, ahead of four competitors in four-wheel drive cars. A driver known for his talent and consistency, who won three ECRC events last year including the Lanark Forest Rally, Kovacs now adds a new 2WD victory to his list of accomplishments.
Cédric Tanguay/Annie Séguin, Matthew Ballinger/Bruce Leonard, Peter McDonald/Ferdinand Trautsmandorff and Paul Batman/Michael Hordjik rounded off the top nine, ahead of the 2WD Volkswagen Jetta of American Mike Halley, co-driven by Nova Scotian Mal Swann. In total, fifteen of the nineteen starters completed the rally.
Fourth at the season-opening Rallye Perce-Neige and winner this Sunday in Ontario, Simon Vincent now leads the drivers’ championship heading into the next event, the Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs, in the Gaspé region of Québec, on July 1st and 2nd. This event is of special significance for the young Quebec driver, who was welcomed to this world in New Richard, the rally’s host town, during the 1992 edition of the competition !
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, consult the site www.ecrc-crec.ca