Sylvain Vincent Dominates Again in Lanark

Without seeing the new paint scheme on Sylvain Vincent's Subaru Impreza, one could be forgiven for believing that the clock had been turned back a year. In a near mirror image of his 2013 performance, Vincent dominated the 2014 running of the Lanark Highlands Forest Rally.

The Terrebonne, Quebec-based driver and co-driver Dominique Cyr won each of the rally's six stages, finishing nearly a minute ahead of his closest challenger. And Vincent looked every bit the master of the former WRC stage along the way.

"It was surprisingly slippery and treacherous on the first stage," he remarked. "If I compared (it to) last year it was not the same rally, so we had to adjust. The road dried up a little bit so we were getting faster and faster (throughout the event)."

Vincent's closest rival throughout the rally was Peter Thomson, fresh off his recent victory at the OPRC round in Shannonville. Thomson did his best to reign in Vincent, coming in second on every stage, albeit several seconds behind Vincent in most cases. However, his second place finish does move him into first place in the OPRC standings.

"It started a little slow in many ways for me," Thomson admitted. "(I) didn't get into the flow for the first half of the day. And then the second half gradually got better and better and the last stage was the best. I did a little tweaking on the car and (it) felt really good on the last stage."

Martin Donnelly and Angela Cosner made amends for their DNF at Shannonville by taking a solid third place finish in Lanark. The Can-Jam Motorsports pairing scored valuable OPRC points as they try and work their way back up the standings and into championship contention.

"We had a pretty good morning, we started off well," said Donnelly. "Unfortunately we were first on the road so we get stuck with a lot of marbles and a lot of the really deep mud. But we worked our way through it and didn't have a bad first stage time."

After an incredible rally debut at Shannonville, David Lamarre's luck ran out in Lanark, when he crashed heavily on the event's third stage. The damage to the car was severe, but fortunately he and co-driver Steve Thibeault emerged unharmed.

Taking top honours in the 2wd class were Andrew Kulikowski and Kelly Mathew in their 2000 Ford Focus. The pair looked dominant throughout the daylong event, earning their first victory of the season by one minute and fifty-five seconds.

Kurt Thiel and Philip Barnes took second in class, with Thiel continuing his run of excellent performances thus far. The Volkswagen Golf crew were able to push Kulikowski throughout the rally, but were never able to overtake the Juggernaut Motorsports driver.

And it was another Juggernaut Motorsports crew that rounded out the 2wd podium, with Gary Sutherland and Yevgeniy Gospodinov coming in third. Sutherland remained within striking distance of second right to the end of the rally, and only finished a hair over three seconds behind Thiel and Barnes.

The Ontario Performance Rally Championship now enters one of the longer gaps between events, with a little over two months to go until the Black Bear Rally in Bancroft, Ontario. Utilizing some of the stages from the Rally of the Tall Pines, Black Bear is a favourite among many competitors. It also marks the beginning of the second set of rallies that make up the OPRC season, as the competitors begin to push hard for the championship.