The 2023 Ontario Performance Rally Championship wrapped up last weekend with a trip up to Bancroft, Ontario for the Lincoln Electric Rally of the Tall Pines. One of the more challenging events on the calendar, "Pines" lived up to its reputation with competitors bringing every tire they own to combat the unpredictable conditions; testing their concentration and skills tackling the tricky icy roads throughout the day and into the evening.
17 of the 19 OPRC teams checked into the final time control for the “Small Pines Rally” Regional event, with many then carrying on into the night with the remaining National stages as well.
After several stage wins and battling some mechanical issues in the penultimate stage, the Quebec team of Jean-Sebastien Besner and Yvan Joyal took the Small Pines Rally win in their Ford Fiesta R5, 2 minutes ahead of 2nd place. Jeremy Drake with Deric Jackson sitting beside him, started the morning off fast and although he felt he wasn’t pushing as hard as he’d have liked in the afternoon, they managed to hold onto 2nd place. Rounding out the overall podium, Vincent Trudel - while not feeling 100% - & codriver Michael Szewczyk, took 3rd, earning themselves some valuable points towards the final Championship results.
Top 2WD honors for the event went to Nicolas Laverdiere & Marc-Olivier Lamontagne, who were the fastest 2WD on every stage in their Ford Fiesta ST. Jonathan Drake swapped his usual 4WD Subaru rally car for a 2WD Focus for the Pines & in his first time competing in this category he was able to secure 2nd 2WD with codriver Brandon Pace alongside. Eric Vanderwal & Alton Gonsalves completed the podium with 3rd place in their Mazda RX8.
Top Novice driver points went to William Pardiac.
Congratulations to everyone who took part & thank you for being there. It sounds like although it was a challenging day, fun was still had out in the woods around Bancroft.
As usual, a big thanks to all the volunteers and organizing team for their continued support of the sport - we couldn’t do this without you
Full results from the event can be found on www.rallyscoring.com
Thanks to these very talented photographers for sharing their fantastic photos with us - please check out the rest of their photos from the event!