Subaru WRX STI Win Keeps Stranglehold on Title Race with Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
What makes Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs extra special? It wasn't the race between Subaru and Mitsubishi for the manufacturers title, although that’s important. It’s the thousands of dedicated Rally fans who’ve been showing up in New Richmond, Quebec over four decades. This was the 40th running of the storied Canadian rally race, and it was won by the 2017 Subaru WRX STI driven by Antoine L'Estage and co-driver Alan Ockwell of Subaru Rally Team Canada (SRTC).
The 2017 turbocharged Subaru WRX STI took Antoine L'Estage to his eighth Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs victory and he’s vying for his tenth Canadian Rally Championship Driver's Title this season. Many of those victories were in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO before he made the switch to Subaru in 2015. The battle is still between Subaru and Mitsubishi privateers.
The Canadian rally team had driveline issues on day one, but it didn’t stop the team at Rocket Rally Racing from getting the Subaru WRX STI to a victory. The team battled back on day two, pushing the STI hard extending their lead, finishing over three minutes ahead of the second place team of Besner and Joyal in their 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO. Hometown heroes Andre and Rene Leblanc joined SRTC on the podium in third place driving a 2005 Subaru WRX.
“It’s a very tough rally and it shows how good the Subaru STI was” noted L’Estage. “There’s no big strategy at an event like this, you go hard and hope everything will go well.”
The win put L’Estage in a tie for first place in the tight race with Leonid Urlichich for the 2017 driver’s championship. The manufactures championship is still between Subaru (60 points) and Mitsubishi (34). Even though Mitsubishi pulled out as a manufacture, privateers are still running the EVO strong. A total of five Subaru WRX or WRX STIs finished in the top ten keeping the brand well ahead of Mitsubishi and Ford in the hunt for a record 13th title. There were four Mitsubishi Lancer EVOs finishing in the top ten.
The 2017 Subaru WRX STI driven by Antoine L'Estage and co-driver Alan Ockwell gets another win at the 40th running of the storied Canadian rally race. Next up is the Rallye Defi in Montpellier, QC September 7-9. This rally marks the midpoint of the 2017 season with valuable points at stake in the hotly contested driver’s championship race.
Photo credit: Subaru CA