ECRC- CREC Rookie Vincent Lalande, co-driven by Matthieu Toupin, Win the Rallye Perce-Neige

ECRC- CREC Rookie Vincent Lalande, co-driven by Matthieu Toupin, Win the Rallye Perce-Neige

Monday, February 5th, 2024

The traditional Rallye Perce-Neige was presented this past weekend in Maniwaki, in the Upper Gatineau region of Quebec as the first round of the 20204 Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC).  Victory went to a driver new to the series and to performance rally competition in general, Vincent Lalande.  At the wheel of a Subaru Impreza, the 16-year-old was co-driven by Matthieu Toupin and took home his first victory of the season ahead of all the anticipated favourites.

Motorcycle driver and road racer (in the Nissan Sentra Cup last year at the age of 15), Lalande negotiated the sometimes snowy, sometimes dirt covered in treacherous icy patches, with seeming mastery.  He not only won the ECRC classification but also set a fastest stage time overall on Friday night, ahead of stars from the North American and Canadian championships.

He is certainly the revelation of this 2024 edition, thanks in part to the work of his co-driver Matthieu Toupin. In the end, Lalande/Toupin won by a margin of over one minute and fifteen seconds ahead of Sébastien Clark and Patrick Lévesque, also driving a Subaru. For Clark, this was a very promising result after a 2023 season plagued with mechanical issues.

The podium was completed by Olivier David and Simon Decosse, ahead of Gabriel Monette/Hughes Bergeron and winners of the 2023 Rallye de Charlevoix, Simon Vincent and Hubert Gaudreau. Behind the Quebec-dominated Top 5, Jonathan Drake and Ian Lantz had a very good start to the event before experiencing some issues with their Subaru RS STI. Two other Subarus rounded out the top eight with Simon Aube/Gabrielle St-Jacques (seventh) and Cédrick Tanguay/Layla Zigby (eighth).

 
 

The battle for victory in the 2-wheel drive class was intense until the very end of the ECRC portion of the event.  Nicolas Laverdière and Marc-Olivier Lamontagne (Ford Fiesta Production 2WD) led until the final stage Friday night but a transmission problem prevented them from completing the rally.  This gave the advantage to Hans Larose and Alexandre Pesant (Volkswagen Golf) who won the category, also finishing in ninth place in overall ECRC standings. On roads where dirt turned to icy in a matter of meters, bringing a 2-wheel drive into the Top 10 is a very good performance.

Rookies Frédéric Gagné and Alexandre Bessette, at the wheel of 2023 series champion Jean-Sébastien Besner’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, completed the ECRC Top 10 while the 2WD podium was completed by Charles L’Estage and Juliette L’Estage (Ford Focus SVT Production 2WD). Nephew and daughter of 10-time Canadian rally champion Antoine L’Estage, this series rookie duo impressed in their first-ever appearance at the event.

Mathieu Royer and Alyssa Voyzelle-Montminy (Nissan Sentra) finished third in the 2WD class.  In total, 19 of the 22 teams registered in the ECRC finished the 2024 edition of the Rallye Perce-Neige. Antoine L’Estage amd Alan Ockwell (Ford Fiesta Proto R) won the overall classification (North American Rally Cup and Canadian Championship).

This season, the Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC) is comprised of nine rounds, spread out between Ontario and Quebec.  The next event is the Shannonville Stages, taking place on April 6th in Ontario.  2024 will be the first year this event is part of the ECRC.

 For more information, please visit the site www.ecrc-crec.ca

 

2024 ECRC Calendar

Date Event City (Province) / Club 2024 Winners
February 2-3 Rallye Perce-Neige

www.rallyeperceneige.com

Maniwaki (Quebec)

Club Rallye Maniwaki

Overall: Vincent Lalande & Matthieu Toupin

2WD: Hans Larose & Alexandre Pesant

April 6 Shannonville Stages

www.pmscrally.com/sss

Shannonville (Ontario)

PMSC + KWRC

 
April 29 Rallye de Sanair

www.rallyedesanair.ca

St-Pie-de-Bagot (Quebec)

Club Autos Sport La Licorne

 
May 25 Rallye Vallée de Beauce

www.casll.qc.ca

St-Victor (Quebec)

Club Autos Sport La Licorne

 
June 29 – 30 Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs

www.rallyebdc.com

New Richmond (Quebec)

Club Rallye Auto Baie-des-Chaleurs

 
August 10 Black Bear Rally

www.mlrc.ca/blackbear/

Catchacoma (Ontario)

Maple Leaf Rally Club

 
September 7 – 8 Rallye Défi Petite Nation

www.rallyedefi.ca

Montpellier (Quebec)

Club Autosport Défi Outaouais

 
November 2 – 3 Rallye de Charlevoix

www.rallyecharlevoix.com

La Malbaie (Quebec)

Club Rallye De Charlevoix

 
November 24 Tall Pines Rally

www.tallpinesrally.com

Bancroft (Ontario)

Maple Leaf Rally Club

 
 

Photo credit © Clément Tavernier

 

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