Antoine L’Estage wins the Big White Winter Rally
Antoine L’Estage and his co-driver Alan Ockwell drove their Subaru Impreza WRX STI to victory in the last round of the 2018 Canadian Rally Championship.
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Held in true winter conditions, the Big White Winter Rally represented the final round of the championship on the East Coast of Canada near Kelowna, British Columbia.
L’Estage and Ockwell, driving for Subaru Rally Team Canada, took the lead on the first stage, and continued to press their advantage, ending the first day in the lead. The pair had already clinched the manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles, with a strong lead in the points for Ockwell to clinch the co-driver’s title.
Behind the wheel of their Subaru Crosstrek, Brandon Semenuk and John Hall secured second heading into the overnight break. Conner Martell and Greg Dorman, in their 2008 Impreza, rounded out the top three.
The second day of the event offered eight stages featuring nearly 150 kilometers of competition. L’Estage and Ockwell extended their domination on the rally, pushing a bit harder until the final loop of stages before easing off to minimize risk on the last three stages of the rally.
They claimed victory by four minutes and 13 seconds over Semenuk and Hall. Ockwell captured the co-driver title and L’Estage took his 10th driver’s title.
Maris Neiksans and Liga Kotane drove a Production car fast enough to claim third place overall. They encountered some mechanics woes near the end but they were able to secure third place in their 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. Ken Stanick and Martin Bumley arrived home in fourth place overall in their Impreza WRX and were first in the Novice category.
This year’s two-wheel drive champions, Dave Wallingford and Leanne Junnila stayed out of trouble and set fastest in class stage times on their way to victory, closing out a highly successful season. They drove their Ford Fiesta R2T to first place in the 2WD class and 12th place overall. The son-and-father team of Matt and Dan Bobyn finished second in 2WD, claiming 15th overall in the rally in their 1996 VW Golf.
The 2018 will start in less than two months with the Rallye Perce Neige, in the area of Maniwaki, Québec, February 2nd and 3rd.
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