L'Estage Stages Dramatic Comeback at Defi

Antoine L'Estage and Alan Ockwell won their second Canadian Rally Championship Rally of 2017 at Rallye Defi.

But L'Estage and Ockwell were in tough right from the start of Defi, trailing Canadian newcomers Barry McKenna and Leon Jordan at the end of the first day. The Subaru Canada crew lost over a minute to mechanical issues, but even when they were on pace, McKenna proved stiff competition for L'Estage.

After a frustrating first day however, L'Estage's fortunes turned with a bit of bad luck for McKenna. On stage 11, a rim failure ripped the rear differential and much of the suspension from the Irishman's M-Sport Ford Fiesta. The damage proved too severe to repair, and he and Jordan were forced to retire.

L'Estage was home free after McKenna's unfortunate exit, and claimed his first victory at Defi in two years.

Crazy Leo Urlichich continued his production class season with a second place finish - another spectacular result in car much slower than his competitors.

Urlichich and codriver Alex Kihurani had been in close competition with open class runners Brandon Semenuk and John Hall throughout day 1. But at the beginning of the rally's second day, Semenuk collided with the wreckage left behind from Barry McKenna's rim failure.

Semenuk and Hall lost time from the damage, allowing Urlichich to pull ahead in second. The Rocket Rally crew would eventually round out the podium in third place.

In the 2WD category, Dave Wallingford and Leanne Junilla ran yet another trouble-free rally to finish first in their Fiesta R2.

Mathieu Leblanc and Alex-Samuel L'Ital-Leblanc finished second in class after flying all weekend in their Honda Civic. Dan Spalinger and Anthony Burden rounded out the 2WD podium in what might have been the most eye-catching entry of the event, a 2009 Nissan Frontier Trophy Truck.

The successes of Urlichich and Kihurani carried over to the Rallye Sport Quebec championship as well, where they placed first.

Nicolas Laverdière and Vincent Trudel finished second in the regional championship. And Simon Vincent and Hubert Gaudreau rounded out the podium in third.

The Canadian Rally Championship now heads into its fall season, continuing at the Pacific Forest Rally in Merritt, BC.