MERRITT, BRITISH COLUMBIA (OCTOBER 2, 2011) Antoine L'Estage and his co-driver Nathalie Richard contested the Pacific Forest Rally, the penultimate round of the Canadian Rally Championship, held this past weekend in British Columbia.  The duo won six of the competitive stages and assured themselves second place overall, giving them enough points to clinch the 2011 Canadian title on VP’s Rally Plus fuel. This marks the fourth Canadian championship for L’Estage/Richards and is their second 2011 title, after locking up the North American Rally Cup with their win at the Rallye Défi in September.

“We stuck to our original plan for the weekend and the entire team did an amazing job to ensure that we could bring home the championship title again this year,” confided Antoine L'Estage, who added “after winning every single Canadian rally since September 2010, I had to hold myself back a bit here because our priority was the championship title.  The Pacific Forest Rally is not an easy event and again this year, many teams suffered from flat tires or mechanical issues…Our championship is as much for us as it is for John Buffum and the entire Rockstar Royal Group team for their dedicated work throughout the entire season.”

L’Estage and his small private team have experienced a remarkable season with a string of victories and titles. “Winning the championship here in Merritt, during the second to last event in the 2011 calendar, is such an advantage because it eliminates all pressure for the Rally of the Tall Pines, the final event of the year taking place next month in Ontario.  The last rally will still offer Mitsubishi a chance to win the manufacturer’s title if the top Mitsubishi finishes in the top 6 overall,” mentioned L'Estage.

As for Nathalie Richard, this second consecutive Canadian title highlights a faultless season: “This year we truly demonstrated how important the concept of a team is.  In the car, it’s Antoine and I that need to set fastest times but it’s the work of John Buffum and our amazing mechanics, as well as the implication of all of our sponsors, that enable us to be so successful,” she explains.

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard participate in the 2011 Rally America and Canadian Rally Championships with the support of Rockstar Energy Drink, Royal Group, Yokohama Tires, Mitsubishi Canada, Drenth Motorsport Gearboxes, Garrett Turbos, Énergie Cardio, Libra Racing, Driver's Edge Autosport (OMP), VP Racing Fuels,   Exe-Tc Suspensions, Seibon Carbon and Hawk Performance Brake Pads. For more information on the team or on rallying in general, visit antoinelestage.com.