MONTREAL, QC – Solidly leading the 2012 Canadian Rally Championship and the North American Rally Cup, Quebec driver Antoine L’Estage (of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu) and his co-driver Nathalie Richard (of Halifax, Nova Scotia) are ready to get back into competition for the Rallye Défi, one of the highlights of the Canadian performance rally scene. The Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team has already won this event a record six times and a seventh win this weekend would bring Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard that much closer to locking up yet another championship title.
At the wheel of their Mitsubishi Evo X, the reigning champions are dominating the 2012 season, having won all of the Canadian events to date. Winners of the most recent four rallies in Canada and the United States, the Rockstar duo is confident heading into the Laurentides and Outaouais regions for the Rallye Défi : « Défi is my home event and it’s been very good to me over the years. I love the rally and I love having our friends and family come out to support our team. Nathalie and I have already won here six times and I’m anxious to see the new roads that have been added to this 2012 edition » explains Antoine L’Estage.
This year, the revamped course will see more competitive mileage on the first day than in years past. This 2012 edition of the Rallye Défi is also highly anticipated by rally fans because, in addition to the regular fierce Canadian championship contenders, World Rally Championship driver Ken Block will be contesting the event for their second time : « Ken and Alex’s presence at this event is definitely a plus. It brings increased media and fan hype but also, in terms of competition, we’re eager to have more battles with them on the stages. Fortunately for Ken, he doesn’t need to worry about overall championship standings like the rest of us do » confides Nathalie Richard. Antoine L’Estage adds with a smile : « but don’t think that I’ll be happy to let him run away with it. Just like he wants to win when he’s on his home turf, I don’t plan on letting him leave here with a Défi victory ! ».
Since Antoine and Nathalie’s July victory in Maine, the Rockstar Energy Drink Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X has had a thorough check up. No modifications have been made but thanks to John Buffum’s Libra Racing shop, everything is mechanically exactly as it should be.
The Rallye Défi is the fourth of six rounds in the 2012 Canadian Rally Championship and the ninth event in the North American Rally Cup. Friday’s start will take place at 8am in Ste-Agathe with competition to last all day long. Saturday’s restart will be in the Outaouais region at 7:50am and continue until around 6pm. The official rally program is in Pole-Position magazine, currently in newsstands across Quebec.
Antoine L’Estage holds four North American championship titles (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011), four Canadian titles (2006, 2007, 2010, 2011), one American title (2010), and thirty-six overall victories in Canada and the US. Nathalie Richard holds seven overall national championship titles (2011, 2010, 2007, 2004 in Canada and 2010, 2005, 2004 in the US), as well as forty-two overall rally wins on both sides of the border. She also holds a record seven North American Co-Driving Championship titles (2004 – 2011, excluding 2006).
Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard participate in the 2012 Rally America and Canadian Rally Championships with the support of Rockstar Energy Drink, Formica Group, Fenetres Concerto, Mitsubishi Canada, Yokohama Tires, Drenth Motorsport Gearboxes, Énergie Cardio, VP Racing Fuels, Exe-Tc Suspensions, Hawk Performance Brake Pads, Driver’s Edge Autosport, and Libra Racing. For more information on the team or on rallying in general, visit antoinelestage.com.
From Coyote Rallye Media Services