Alexandre Béland Wins the 2012 Rallye de Charlevoix in Quebec, Canada

Alexandre Béland, co-driven by Lyne Murphy in a Swap Shop Subaru Impreza WRX, won this weekend’s Rallye de Charlevoix, presented by Coffrages Bouchard. The event was spectacular from start to finish with many changes among the leaders but by the end, Alexandre Béland earned his very first career victory when Steeve Hobbs, favourite to win the rally, abandoned on the last competitive stage.

Forty-two teams were entered, of which thirty-nine eventually took to the start, for this 2012 edition of the Rallye de Charlevoix, marking the final round in the Quebec Rally Championship’s season. Quebec championship contenders, as well as several regular Canadian national competitors and teams from the United States made up this year’s entry list. With perfect weather conditions (sun mixed with light rainfall at the end of the day), thousands of spectators were on hand to witness the battle between 2011 Quebec champion Steeve Hobbs, co-driven by Jean-Mathieu Tremblay in their Foresco Subaru Impreza WRX, and the team of Maxime Labrie/Anick Barette (also in a Subaru).

Leading after the first four competitive stages, Labrie was eventually sidelined by mechanical issues, leaving Hobbs at the top by himself, less than a minute ahead of the two Swap Shop drivers Alexandre Béland and Marc Bourassa. Managing his lead, Hobbs was headed for victory and a second consecutive Quebec title when he succumbed to heartbreaking mechanical failure on the final stage. A remarkable performance by Alexandre Béland, co-driven by the experienced Lyne Murphy, allowed him to slide into first place in his very first appearance at the Rallye de Charlevoix ! In the event’s record books, Béland’s name now follows Canadian and North American champion Antoine L’Estage, in only the novice’s sixth’s career rally.

Marc Bourassa, co-driven by Daniel Paquette, finished one minute and thirteen seconds behind in second place, giving Swap Shop the best imaginable double podium result. The overall podium was completed by Maxime Dubé and Éric Losier (Test Rallye Subaru). In addition, this team earned the Quebec Championship’s four-wheel drive class victory, finishing ahead of Belgian native Frank Lognay, co-driven by his daughter Larissa (Subaru), who clinches the 2012 Quebec 4WD Cup. American Tim Penasak rounds off the overall top 5 ahead of Ontarian Vittorio Barres and his Audi Quattro.

In the Quebec Championship’s Jon Nichols Cup (modified two-wheel drive), victory goes to Dave St-Pierre (and co-driver Simon Lortie in a Nissan Sentra). A superb victory for this novice driver who was expected to finish behind multi-time champions Simon Dubé and Sylvain Bazinet. Dubé, however, DNF’d with a broken axle while Bazinet lost several minutes on the final stage due to broken shocks. Bazinet nonetheless clinches the 2012 title for this category.

In the Québec Cup (Production class two-wheel drive cars), Carl Tremblay and Louis Dicaire (VW Golf) earned double honours, claiming the event win as well as the 2012 championship class. One of the most noticeable performances of the weekend goes to Charlevoix locals Richard Bouchard and Jasmin Gaudreau (Mazda Protege), who finished in a strong second place in front of their many fans.

Americans Erik Potts/Aaron Crescenti (Ford Focus) earned themselves the 2012 NASA Atlantic Rally Cup.

With 42 teams listed and 39 starters, this 2012 edition of the Rallye de Charlevoix was the rally, from all series, with the second highest number of participants this season. The organizing committee was thrilled with the weekend’s success, especially after requesting that the event be observed by the Canadian Association of Rally Sport (CARS) with the possibility of eventually integrating the rally back into the Canadian championship and the North American Rally Cup. « Our goal was to hold an event that was up to national standards and then to continue to develop the Rallye de Charlevoix so that it can be among the best in North America » confides co-ordinator Émilie Fortin, who is in her fourth year at the head of the organization. « After the comments we’ve received, I think we’re on the right track. 2012, which marked the twenty-fifth year since the inception of a rally in our region, was a major success for the Rallye de Charlevoix. It’s great motivation going forward and I think that more than ever, our event has a wonderful future ahead of it » she concludes.

For more information on the event and its results, visit the official site http://www.rallyecharlevoix.com. The next edition of the Rallye de Charlevoix will take place in October, 2013.

Top 10 at the Rallye de Charlevoix 2012, presented by Coffrages Bouchard :
1) A. Béland/L. Murphy (Subaru Impreza WRX) – 1h11’24”
2) M. Bourassa/D. Paquette (Subaru Impreza WRX) – 1h12’37’’
3) M. Dubé/E. Losier (Subaru Impreza WRX) – 1h16’21’’
4) F. Lognay/L. Lognay (Subaru Impreza WRX) – 1h18’19’’
5) T. Penasak/M. Goldfarb (Subaru Impreza WRX) – 1h18’43’’
6) V. Bares/P. Lévesque (Audi Quattro 4000) – 1h22’14’’
7) P. Goulet/C. Isabelle (Subaru Impreza WRX) – 1h24’05’’
8) D. St-Pierre/S. Lortie (Nissan Sentra) – 1h24’36’’
9) C. Tremblay/L. Dicaire (Volkswagen Golf GTI) – 1h25’08’’
10) P. Marcoux/C. Villeneuve (Subaru Impreza WRX) – 1h27’31’’

2012 Quebec Champions :
4 Wheel Drive Cup : Frank Lognay and Larissa Lognay (Subaru)
Jon Nichols Cup : Sylvain Bazinet and Pat Lavigne (Honda)
Québec Cup : Carl Tremblay and Louis Dicaire (Volkswagen)

– Credit: Photo by Marie-Lyse Tremblay/poleposition.ca.