Reigning North American and Canadian Rally Champions driver Antoine L’Estage and his co-driver Nathalie Richard will contest the remaining events of the Rally America series at the wheel of a WRC-spec Mitsubishi Lancer. In this, the premier American rally championship, it will be the first time a Canadian competes in a modern day World Rally Car that has already contested the World Rally Championship and it is also the first time the British MML Sports team will bring their WRC car to compete in North America.
After having contested the first two rounds of the 2013 season, including a victory at Michigan’s SnoDrift Rally in their Mitsubishi Evo X, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard will finish off the remaining five Rally America rounds with the WRC Lancer. “This is big news! To take part in rallies at the wheel of a car that has been in the World Rally Championship (WRC) is fantastic and I’m really looking forward to more great battles with Ken Block and David Higgins,” explains Antoine, who clarifies: “Our hard work has come to fruition in the form of an agreement with MML Sports of the UK, with whom we already tested the car last November in the Czech Republic. All of our sponsors play a big role in this as well and we are thrilled to have our partners on board.”
The first event that the L’Estage/Richard duo will take part in with the WRC Mitsubishi Lancer will be on the first weekend of May for the Oregon Trail Rally, Round Three of the Rally America series. An important test session will precede the rally, enabling Antoine to familiarize himself with the car. “Up until now, I’ve only done a few kilometers with this car, without really pushing it to its maximum capabilities. We’re in the hunt for this year’s RA title so it’s essential to get more comfortable with the vehicle before the start of Oregon Trail,” said Antoine, who, with Nathalie, sits in second place on the championship leader board. The team will also continue the fight to make 2013 its sixth Canadian Rally Championship title, which will be contested in the Rockstar Energy Drink Lancer EVO X as originally planned at the beginning of the season. More details concerning L’Estage’s debut in the WRC car will follow.