Press Release - July 2 - 2023.

Jean-Sébastien Besner and Yvan Joyal

Jean-Sébastien Besner and Yvan Joyal Once Again Victorious With a Win at Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs

July 2, 2023.- Presented this past Saturday as part of the Rallye International Baie-des-Chaleurs, in the Gaspé region of Quebec, the third round of the 2023 Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC) saw victory go to Jean-Sébastien Besner and Yvan Joyal, at the wheel of a brand-new Ford Fiesta R5. The vehicle was prepared by M-Sport in Great Britain and provided the duo from Montreal a new opportunity to surpass their competition. This was the second victory of the season for Besner/Joyal, who also won the Rallye Perce-Neige last February.

No fewer than 48 teams took the start of this rally, 34 of which were registered in the ECRC. Besner/Joyal took over the lead as of the second competitive stage and enjoyed a more-than-comfortable gap, eventually winning the event by 11 minutes and 16.7 seconds. A margin of this significance is rarely seen at this level of competition.

The muddy and often tricky road conditions did not stump the superior handling of the Ford Fiesta R5 (normally seen competing in the WRC2 class of the World Rally Championship), combined with the experience of this winning duo. Nevertheless, the teams finishing behind Besner/Joyal also displayed exceptional performances during the rally, including that of second-place Yves Boudreau and Daniel Caissy in their Production 4 wheel-drive class Subaru WRX STI. They claimed the very first competitive stage of the rally before being passed by the eventual winners.

The ECRC podium was completed by local driver, William Pardiac, co-driven by Manuel Arsenault in an Open 4 wheel-drive Subaru, finishing only 15 seconds behind Boudreau/Caissy.

BDC MLeblanc Photo Danny Bujold
Mathieu Leblanc and Éric Dubé at Rallye Auto International BDC  2023
Photo © Danny Bujold /

Once again, the drive of Réjean Perron and Alexandre Marcoux was very consistent in the lone Mitsubishi Lancer Évolution to start the event. They finished in fourth place, ahead of 2 wheel-drive class winners Mathieu Leblanc and Éric Dubé. Just like the overall ECRC winners, Leblanc/Dubé took home their second 2WD victory of the season, in their Honda Civic. Their category was hotly contested, with Leblanc/Dubé finishing just 22 seconds ahead of the winner of the previous ECRC event (le Rallye de Sanair last April), Kurt Duddy. In his usual Nissan Sentra but this time being co-driven by Ontarian Brandon Pace, Duddy also completed the rally in sixth place overall.

Numerous leaderboard changes took place throughout this spectacular rally. In these road conditions that Mother Nature presented, finishing in the Top 10 is not an easy feat. Gabriel Monette and Hugues Bergeron (Subaru) rose to the challenge, finishing seventh, ahead of Olivier Guité and Martin Noël (eighth and third in 2 wheel-drive with their Ford Fiesta R2), Jonathan Conrad and Timothy Dine (Subaru) ninth, followed by Margaret Sharron and Jennie Holden (Subaru). The only 100% female team competing this weekend, this American duo rounded out the Top 10 in their Subaru, only 3.3 seconds behind ninth place.

In total, 20 of the 34 teams registered in the ECRC made it to the finish. The Rallye International Baie-des-Chaleurs continues on Sunday with the final stages towards classification in the FIA’s NACAM series, the North American Rally Cup, and the Canadian Rally Championship.

The Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC) is comprised of seven events this season, spread between Ontario and Québec. The next event will take place in mid-August in Ontario, as part of the traditional Black Bear Rally, in the Catchacoma region, north of Peterborough.

2023 Calendar