Pat (Rocket) Richard of Squamish, B.C., won his fourth Canadian Rally Championship when he captured the annual Rally of the Tall Pines held at Bancroft, Ont., at the weekend.
Richard and co-driver Alan Ockwell of Toronto finished the Tall Pines in one hour, 53 minutes and 48 seconds in a Subaru. Second-place finishers Andrew Comrie-Picard of Toronto and Jeremy Wimpey of State College, Pa., were about three minutes behind in one hour and 56:44 seconds in a Mitsubishi while third-place finishers Frank and Dan Sprongle of Georgetown, Ont., did the rally in 1:57:07 in a Subaru.
Two-time national champions Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., were winning when clutch problems on their Mitsubishi prevented them from starting the final stage on time.
They eventually finished the rally in fifth place but suffered a double whammy by losing both the Canadian championship to Richard as well as the North American Rally Cup to Comrie-Picard.
Said L’Estage: "It’s been said that the highs in this sport are really high but that it can also be cruel. We definitely felt that today."
Richard previously won the national championship in 2002 and 2004 as well as last year.