ECRC- CREC Sébastien Clark Takes the Victory at the Black Bear Rally

ECRC- CREC Sébastien Clark Takes the Victory at the Black Bear Rally

Monday, August 14th, 2023

August 13, 2023.- The Black Bear Rally was presented yesterday in the Catchacoma region of Ontario, as the fourth round of the 2023 Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC).  This event was won by Sébastien Clark for the second time in 5 years. Co-driven by Antoine Laliberté, for his first win at this rally, Clark drove his Subaru WRX STI to victory by a margin of just over a minute ahead of his closest competitor.

Presented on dirt roads in the beautiful region of Catchacoma, not far from the lake of the same name two hours northeast of Toronto, the Black Bear Rally had the participating teams start under the rain before the course was able to slowly dry out.  The tricky conditions didn’t affect Sébastien Clark and Antoine Laliberté who remained consistent and found themselves in the lead. The team only won one competitive stage, the last of the event, but completed each stage in the Top 4 en route to their success.

Ontarians Jeremy Drake and Deric Jackson finished in second place, 1 minute and 2.2 seconds. The podium was completed by French-American Emmanuel Cecchet, co-driven by Quebecker Jonathan Desgroseilliers, who finished 2 minutes, 21.7 seconds behind the winners. The lone 100% female team registered, the duo of Margaret Sharron / Jennie Holden completed the rally in fourth place, after a close battle with Cecchet/Desgroseilliers in the second half of the event.

In fifth place, Michel Drapeau and Jean-Sébastien Delisle finished ahead of Ryan Rouleau and Jordan Sien to complete a Top 6 overall entirely made up of Subaru.

Seventh overall was Mark Toufanov and David Bell with their 2 wheel-drive Toyota GT86, beating Michal Gielas and Jacek Gielas in their 4WD Subaru Impreza Production by nine seconds.

The two wheel-drive podium was completed by Eric Vanderwal/Alton Gonsalves (Mazda RX8) and Grant Rawcliffe/Brandon Pace (Ford Focus). These two teams also finished 8th and 9th overall, in front of Jim Morton and Ian Lantz (Mitsubishi Lancer).

Expected to battle Clark/Laliberté for the victory, Marc Bourassa and Élise Racette (Subaru WRX STI) were competing in their first event of the season at this Black Bear Rally. Eventual winners of three special stages, they had lost all hopes of completing the rally on the podium when they suffered alternator problems right at the start and had to miss the first two stages, for which they were allocated a fixed time. The duo finished in twelfth place overall ahead of the Mazda 3 of Roderik Jones/Audrey Godin.

Éric Courchesne and Patrick Lévesque were also unlucky in their Ford Fiesta 4 wheel-drive. After dominating the first half of the rally by setting 4 fastest times, they abandoned the event two stages before the end.  They were the only team entered that did not make it to the finish.

The Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC) is comprised of seven events this season, spread between Ontario and Québec. The next event will take place in early September with a return to Quebec for Montpellier’s Rallye Défi Petite Nation, in the Outaouais region.

For more information, please visit:

Photo © Black Bear Rally


2023 ECRC Calendar

Date Event Town (Province) / Club 2023 Winners
February 4 Rallye Perce-Neige

Maniwaki (Quebec)

Club Rallye Maniwaki

Overall : J.S.Besner & Yvan Joyal

2WD : Mathieu Leblanc & Éric Dubé

April 29 Rallye de Sanair

St-Pie-de-Bagot (Quebec)

Club Autos Sport La Licorne

Overall : K.Duddy & M.Toupin (2WD)


July 1 Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs

New Richmond (Quebec)

Club Rallye Auto Baie-des-Chaleurs

Overall : J.S.Besner & Yvan Joyal

2WD : Mathieu Leblanc & Éric Dubé

August 12 Black Bear Rally

Catchacoma (Ontario)

Maple Leaf Rally Club

Overall : Sébastien Clark & A.Laliberté

2WD : Mark Toufanov & David Bell

September 9 & 10 Rallye Défi Petite Nation

Montpellier (Quebec)

Club Autosport Défi Outaouais

October 21 & 22 Rallye de Charlevoix

La Malbaie (Quebec)

Club Rallye De Charlevoix

November 25 Tall Pines Rally

Bancroft (Ontario)

Maple Leaf Rally Club



Mailloux skates to win...
Vincent emerges victorious at...
The beautiful autumn waterfront scenery in La Malbaie, QC, represented a stark contrast to the...
Besner best at Rallye...
Masters of risk management, Jean-Sebastien Besner and Yvan Joyal knew where to push and where...
Levac launches to Rallye...
The teams of the Canadian Rally Championship were joined by Mexican teams from the NACAM...