Monday, October 4th, 2021
A dramatic final-stage shakeup at Rocky Mountain Rally saw the leaders drop off the top step, promoting André and René Leblanc to the event win and vaulting them into the overall points lead. The event marked the return to Western Canada for round three of the 2021 Canadian Rally Championship. This year’s version moved back to the Kananaskis region of Alberta using iconic roads not seen in the championship for nearly a decade.
Championship leaders, Jerome Mailloux and Philippe Poirier, came into Rocky Mountain Rally with a 2-point advantage over the Leblanc brothers. Test Racing loaded the trailer and headed West to continue the championship battle between the two teammates, however Leblanc would be entered in a new-to-them Subaru with a lot of history under its belt. The ex-Patrick Richard car had several Canadian titles and a Production World Rally Championship campaign under its belt but hadn’t seen competition in over a decade.
The rally consisted of two short stages followed by three in-and-out runs of the legendary 34km Powderface Trail stage. After taking a brief lead on the opening stages, Leblanc suffered severe brake overheating on the longer stages. Mailloux and Poirier took control of the rally, extending their lead to almost two minutes after six stages. But drama struck on the seventh and final stage when a flat tire forced them to stop, dropping them to 5th overall.
Patience paid off for André and René Leblanc, as they nursed their brakes to the finish and added another win to their new car’s logbook. With the win, they take the points lead going into the second half of the season.
With consistent and quick times, Marc-André Brisebois and co-driver, Marie-france Desmarais Trépanier, claimed their first National podium in second place. The trip to Alberta was worthwhile as the result leaps them up to third overall in the championship.
Making it an all-Subaru podium, the local team of Krystian Ostrowski and Chris Galecki were happy to shake off the cobwebs and get back to rally action.
The two-wheel drive class featured a hard-fought battle, with a 5-way fight for the podium shaping up early. On first loop through the Powderface stages, Nick Wood and Jen Daly in a 1971 Datsun 1200 put their foot down and pulled out a significant lead. Kornelius Rempel, Wim van der Poel, Jason Bailey looked to be fighting for the remainder of the podium.
But with Van Der Poel starting to reel in the leaders, drama struck again on the final stage when Wood and Daly retiring from the rally with a mechanical problem. This promoted Wim van der Poel and Bryan Lord to the top step. After a very strong performance all day, Kornelius Rempel and Khol Haggerty brought their Honda Civic home in second place. Seemingly down on power, Jason Bailey and Shayne Peterson still claimed third place, keeping his title fight alive.
The Canadian Rally Championship returns to Quebec on October 22-23 for Rallye Charlevoix.