Seven Straight For L'Estage

Ripon, QC Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard netted their seventh straight Canadian victory and secured the North American title at the historic Rallye Défi. The win widens the already sizeable Canadian Championship lead the duo has held all season.

Chief rivals Patrick Richard and Leanne Junnila suffered a major blow after running out of fuel during transit of the first stage. The Subaru Rally Team Canada pair were excluded after the first day of competition for being towed to the refuelling station against competition rules.

The exclusion paved the way for "Crazy" Leo Urlichich and Martin Brady to move comfortably into second place despite breaking an axle early Friday and blowing a tire Saturday morning. Although leading to his best finish of the season, Leo expressed his displeasure with Richard and Junnila's exclusion. "Pat and Leanne were ahead of us at the end of the day and that's where they belonged, because they were faster," said Leo.

Team Swap Shop's Craig Henderson and Lyne Murphy finished third with their first podium of the season. The team steadily worked their way back Saturday after losing nearly a minute to problems early Friday.

Finishing 8th overall, Nick and Kelly Matthew placed first in the Ontario Performance Rally Championship reviving their chances at the regional title. Despite nearly constant problems all weekend Team Manick's Nicola and Massimo Narini placed second, while Michelle Laframboise and Elise Racette placed third in their first ever podium.

The Canadian Rally Championship continues September 30th in Merritt, BC with the Pacific Forest Rally.