CRC – L’Estage leads Defi Rally after first day

Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard are leading the 2011 Rallye Defi by a margin of two minutes, 20.8 seconds over second place Leo Urlichich and Martin Brady after the first day of action.

L’Estage took the lead on the first stage, fighting off Pat Richard and Leanne Junnila through the rest of the day. L’Estage finished with a lead of 10.3 seconds, but Richard and Junnila were excluded at the end of the day after getting flat towed to a fuel drop in the morning.

“Everything has been going good today,” said L’Estage. “Pat and I were very close all day, it was a good battle.”

L’Estage was the seemingly the only crew not to have problems. Leo Urlichich and Martin Brady snapped an axle on the first stage that damaged their differentials, a problem that wasn’t solved till the afternoon, and appeared to have returned on the final stage.

“Everything seemed good, but on this last stage, the car made a noise, and it’s not going so well now,” said Leo.

Sitting in third place is Steeve Hobbs and Jean-Mathieu Tremblay, less than 18 seconds back from Leo, and just 1.1 seconds ahead of Joel Levac and Stephanie Lewis.

Jan and Jody Zedril have a strong hold on first place in 2wd, after Simon Dube and Pat Lavigne had problems in the first stage, breaking the rear suspension and brakes on their Golf. Eric Grochowski and Keith Morison retired after the first stage with a broken fuel pump.
Tomorrow, the rally relocates to Montpellier for an additional 12 stages.

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