May 23, 2002

Subaru takes first place at Bighorn Rally

Edmonton, Alberta – Pat Richard and navigator Ian McCurdy of British Columbia took first place in the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship’s Bighorn Rally near Edmonton over a record field of competitors.

Richard finished a convincing one minute and 41 seconds ahead of second-place Sylvain Erickson of Quebec in a Mitsubishi Evo. Third place went to Andrew Comrie-Picard, also in a Mitsubishi.

It was Richard’s second consecutive victory – his first career win was in Maniwaki, Quebec, in February – and it widened his lead in the drivers’ championship to 20 points. In a newly-updated Subaru WRX, now completely modified to Group N STi specifications, Richard either set or tied the fastest time on 16 of the event’s 18 stages.

“I can’t believe I’ve won two in a row,” said Richard. “I guess it proves the last time was not a fluke. I’m so happy for the team and for Subaru, that I justified their confidence.”

Richard’s Subaru Canada team-mate, John Paynter, of Dartmouth, N.S., finished fifth, dominating the Production GT field and taking top production class honours after a five-month hiatus from rallying.

The teams’ victories were even sweeter, given the fact that the Bighorn Rally enjoyed a record-setting 30 entries. This was made possible by Hansen’s Forwarding Ltd. and Canadian Pacific Railways, which shipped 12 teams from eastern Canada to Edmonton for the event, free of charge.

The Rocky Mountain Rally, round four of the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Yokohama, begins in Calgary on Friday, May 24. It opens with a pair of special stages at the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park, starting at 7.30 p.m. The rally then resumes on Saturday in the Porcupine Hills of southwest Alberta.

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