Double Header Doesn't Disappoint!
It would be foolish of us to turn up to the Rally of the Tall Pines expecting anything other than a challenging & exhausting, yet exciting and fantastic event. The 2022 edition once again ticked all the boxes, closing out the OPRC season with a double header: The Small Pines Rally & The Pine Cone Rally. With full points available at both, it would prove essential for teams wanting a shot at the Championship titles to not only finish each event, but finish with maximum points.
In true Pines fashion, the weather kept us guessing on tire choice with recce giving us snow in the woods, and a mix of dry gravel and icy patches on the open road. Above zero temperatures on Saturday turned some of the softer areas of the stages into trickier slippery corners, with snow still sticking around in the trees for the lower end of the Detlor stages and shaded roads of the Egan complex. By the end of the night however, the Lower Turriff and Upper Hastings stages proved to be fast gravel roads. A little bit of everything, just what we like to see!
Olivier Martel and Vincent Hubert clinched the 2022 Overall OPRC Driver & Codriver Championships with great stage performance - despite having electrical issues throughout the day - taking home 1st place Overall at both OPRC events.
Jean-Sebastien Besner, with Yvan Joyal alongside him, took 2nd Overall in the Small Pines (OPRC #1) and 3rd Overall at the Pine Cone Rally (OPRC #2) later in the day.
3rd Overall at the Smalls Pines went to Black Bear Rally winners Jonathan Drake and Ian Lantz. However after a strong start to the day, the team found themselves a little out of sorts over a crest on the tricky Middle Hastings stage at night, resulting in an off road excursion into a ditch & ending their Pine Cone Rally at the mid-point.
Completing the Overall podium at the Pine Cone Rally (OPRC #2), the production 4WD team of Trevor Pougnet and Ryan Rouleau found themselves in 2nd place following consistent results all day, including an overall event 2nd fastest stage time on a night pass of Upper Hastings.
Overall 2WD honors for both OPRC events and the 2022 OPRC 2WD Driver & Codriver Championships went to Kurtis Duddy and Mattieu Toupin. A commanding performance from them all day gave them 1st place by a healthy margin in both OPRC events.
Crawford New & codriver Zvonimir Bracika traded places back and forth with Charles Hammer & Guillaume Dozois for the 2nd & 3rd spots in 2WD. New/Bracika taking 2nd in the Small Pines and 3rd in the Pine Cone. Hammer/Dozois taking 3rd in the Small Pines & 2nd spot in the Pine Cone.
Top Novice driver for both events went to Gabriel Monette, who, having taken Top Novice at 5 OPRC events this season, wins the 2022 OPRC Novice Driver Championship.
Full results for the Tall Pines events can be found on rallyscoring.com
Congratulations to all the competitors who took part this past weekend. After a long day of recce on Friday, the Saturday events are a real challenge. Hope to see you all back on the stages again soon.
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