SALEM, MS. (FEBRUARY 27, 2011) – Rally champs Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard won ten of the first twelve competitive stages to build up a lead as high as 44 seconds at Missouri’s Rally of the 100 Acre Wood. The race marked the second round of the Rally America series and was eventually won by the Canadian duo ahead of their main rivals from the UK.

L’Estage and Richard started off the rally by winning the first short spectator stage before heading out to the more challenging gravel roads near Steelville, MS. By the end of the first day, L’Estage drove his Mitsubishi to build up a gap of more than twenty-two seconds over contender David Higgins.

Heading into the remaining three stages of the rally, L’Estage and Richard’s goal was to manage their lead without taking risky chances. They finished second on each of the three stages and eventually won the rally by almost eighteen seconds.

“It’s hard for drivers to not want to win every competitive stages,” explained Richard, Antoine’s co-driver of five years. “They sometimes need to put their egos aside and finish a smart rally, which is what Antoine was able to do. He drove a fantastic rally and we’re both very happy with the win. To top it off, it was Antoine’s birthday and there’s no better way to celebrate it than at the top of the podium!”

L’Estage and Richard are coming off an unprecedented 2010 season, which saw them win the Canadian, Rally America, and North American championships, as well as a bronze medal for Antoine at the Summer X Games. With the victory this past weekend in Missouri, as well as a victory earlier this month at Quebec’s Rallye Perce Neige, the first event in the 2011 Canadian Rally Championship, L’Estage and Richard now lead the North American Rally Cup as well as the hunt for the Canadian title.