Antoine L’Estage Takes First Win of the Season at STPR Rally
Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team’s Antoine L’Estage from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC and co-driver Nathalie Richard from Halifax, NS won the 36th running of the Susquehannock Performance Trail Rally held in Wellsboro, PA on June 1-2.
L’Estage and Richard led the rally from the very start after his chief rival Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and Craig Drew suffered a gearbox problem on the first stage that pushed the team down as far as 13th overall.
Higgins mounted a furious drive to finish in second place overall behind L'Estage by 1:15.1. Leonid "Crazy Leo" Urlichich from Thornhill, ON with co-driver Carl Williamson from Ammanford, UK finished in third overall for a consecutive American podium.
Lauchlin O’Sullivan from San Francisco, CA and co-driver Scott Putnam from Minneapolis, MN took an impressive win in the Super Production (SP) Class by a narrow 14.1 seconds over last year’s STPR Rally SP Class winner, Ramana Lagemann and Chrissie Beavis.
Ramana Lagemann from Somerville, MA and Chrissie Beavis from San Diego, CA took 2nd place in the SP Class behind O'Sullivan followed by 2011 SP Class winner, Travis Hanson from Woodsville, NH and co-driver Terry Hanson from Wiliamsburg, MI running 4:46.6 behind.
The much anticipated battle between Two-Wheel-Drive (2WD) American driver, Chris Duplessis from Bethlehem, NH and co-driver Alex Kirhurani from Philadelphia, PA and the top Summit Rally Team ‘s top drivers, Will Orders from Melbourne, Australia and co-driver Toni Feaver from Perth, Australia finally occurred at the STPR Rally.
This was the first meeting between the top 2WD teams and Orders immediately extended a lead over Duplessis. It appeared that Orders was going to walk away with a win, but he sprung an oil leak on the first leg of day two before retiring at service with electrical misfires.
Duplessis assumed the 2WD Class win by 4:18.1 over Summit Rally Team’s second team, brothers Ross Allan and Scott Allan also from Australia. This is the Allan’s first American podium.
Chris Greenhouse from Cincinnati, OH with co-driver Brian Johnson from Bethel, CT returned to the 2WD Class podium in a newly acquired 2003 Dodge Neon SRT4. They won the STPR 2WD Class last year and took third in class at this year’s running.
Photo: Neil McDaid