Antoine L’Estage Wins the Rocky Mountain Rally And the North American Title
This past weekend, Quebec driver Antoine L’Estage (of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu) and his co-driver, Torontonian Alan Ockwell, won the Rocky Mountain Rally, held in the Invermere region of British Columbia. This marked the fifth victory in a row for Antoine L’Estage, who clinched the Canadian title at the last round of the championship, and earned himself the North American driver’s title at this event.
Winner of all three rounds in Quebec in the first half of the season (Perce-Neige, Baie-des-Chaleurs and Défi rallies), Antoine L'Estage then won the Pacific Forest Rally last month before winning the Rocky Mountain Rally this past weekend. The Quebec driver has a perfect record, despite this event not being a restful one at all.
"Each rally is a challenge, especially seeing as we are a private team. Thanks to the support from Yokohama, we are in a position to finish the season but it is not easy. Fortunately, we have a fantastic team. John Buffum and the mechanics are able to prepare a very reliable car for each event," highlights Antoine.
During the 2014 Rocky Mountain Rally, Antoine L'Estage and Alan Ockwell took the lead on Friday’s very first competitive stage with their Evo X. "We dominated Friday, winning all of the stages. I attacked hard, the roads were dry and the soft compound Yokohama tires helped me a lot." he explained, before adding , "Saturday the roads were soaked with rain and there was a lot of mud. It was tricky"
After extending their lead in the opening stage Saturday, L'Estage and Ockwell lost time twice, first as a result of a puncture and then again with power steering problems.
"The flat cost us about thirty seconds but that wasn’t my biggest worry. Actually, it was my first flat in all the five rallies that I’ve won. The issue with my power steering was a bigger stress because we attempted a band-aid repair at the service and I was afraid it wouldn’t hold until the end of the rally. Luckily, everything worked out ok!" confided Antoine.
This new victory earns Antoine L’Estage the North American championship title. "I am really really proud of what our team has been able to do, with such a small budget. Canadian champion last month, North American champion this month, it’s awesome," he concludes. In addition, his co-driver Alan Ockwell only needs to finish the last rally of the season to also be guaranteed a Canadian title.
Antoine L'Estage currently holds seven North American titles (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014), seven Canadian (2006, 2007, 2010 to 2014), one American (2010) and forty-seven overall victories in Canada and the United States.
He is contesting the 2014 Canadian Rally Championship with the support of Yokohama Tires, Drenth Motorsport Gearboxes, Énergie Cardio, Method Race Wheels, VP Racing Fuels, Alpinestars, Exe-Tc Suspensions, Driver's Edge Autosport, and Libra Racing. For more information on the team or rally in general, please visit the antoinelestage.com site.
Credit : Peter MacDonald