L’Estage and Ockwell capture victory at Rallye Défi

Subaru Rally Team Canada’s Antoine L’Estage and Alan Ockwell won the Rallye Défi in Montpellier, Québec last weekend.

L’Estage and Ockwell capture victory at Rallye Défi
Leo Urlichich, Alex Kihurani, Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Brandon Semenuk, John Hall, Subaru Crosstrek
Antoine L’Estage and Alan Ockwell
Podium: winners Antoine L’Estage and Alan Ockwell, second place Leo Urlichich and Alex Kihurani, third place Brandon Semenuk and John Hall

After a difficult first half of the season in the Canadian Rally Championship, L’Estage and Ockwell managed to capture victory in this, the 25th edition and its 35th anniversary since its inception of the Rallye Défi. It was also L’Estage’s ninth win at Défi, an impressive performance.

It was not an easy cruise to victory for L’Estage.

After the first day of competition, it was Barry McKenna and Leon Jordan who appeared in the overall lead, with a one-minute, 18 seconds advantage of their rivals. L’Estage and Ockwell suffered mechanical problems on the second stage of the day, losing over a minute to issues with the brakes of their Impreza WRX STI, plus a flat tire.

Problems continued for them early on the second day of competition as underbody protection was knocked lose on the car, and then a rock whacked a rear brake line, costing even more time to then-leaders McKenna and Jordan.

However, McKenna and Jordan were also hit a big problems on the tough, bumpy dirt and gravel roads that make the Rallye Défi.

They had a rim fail, taking much of the rear suspension and driveline with it as it broke free from the car and rested on the road. Limping on three wheels, McKenna was forced to pull over and retire from the event. The incident handed L’Estage and Ockwell the lead of the rally.

“Crazy Leo“ Urlichich and Alex Kihurani missed the rear diff and a half shaft that lied on the road, en route to second place and a win in the Production 4WD category in their Subaru Impreza. Brandon Semenuk and co-driver John Hall arrived home in third place in their Mitsubishi Lancer.

Dave Wallingford and Leanne Junnila showed poise all even long to finish first in the 2WD class. Mathieu Leblanc and Alex-Samuel L’Italien-Leblanc finished second in class, followed by Dan Spalinger and Anthony Burden.

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About this article

Series Canadian rally
Event Rallye Defi
Author René Fagnan