Subaru Canada Rally Team driver Antoine L’Estage and his co-driver David Garrod have put themselves squarely back in the hunt for the 2016 Canadian Rally Championship with a decisive victory at the 39th Pacific Forest Rally in Merritt last weekend.
L’Estage, the defending PFR champion and a nine-time winner of the event, and Garrod won every stage of the two-day competition, held amidst the forests and range lands of the beautiful Nicola Valley.
“This victory was really important for the whole team,” L’Estage said in a post-race scrum with media. “We had some challenges earlier this year, but now we’re in a good position in the championship. The work’s not done. We still have two events to go.”
Those events are the Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ont. Nov. 25 and 26, and the Big White Winter Rally at the ski resort outside Kelowna on Dec. 11 and 12.
This year’s Pacific Forest Rally took its toll on participating cars and drivers. Ten of the 33 vehicles that left the start line on Friday were forced to retire, including current CRC leaders Maxime Labrie and Philippe Poirier.
The front runner’s lead in the standings over second-place L’Estage and Garrod has shrunk to a single point.