Press Release - August 13 - 2023.

Podium - Black Bear Rally 2023

Sébastien Clark Takes the Victory at the Black Bear Rally

August 13, 2023.- The Black Bear Rally was presented yesterday in the Catchacoma region of Ontario, as the fourth round of the 2023 Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC). This event was won by Sébastien Clark for the second time in 5 years. Co-driven by Antoine Laliberté, for his first win at this rally, Clark drove his Subaru WRX STI to victory by a margin of just over a minute ahead of his closest competitor.

Presented on dirt roads in the beautiful region of Catchacoma, not far from the lake of the same name two hours northeast of Toronto, the Black Bear Rally had the participating teams start under the rain before the course was able to slowly dry out. The tricky conditions didn’t affect Sébastien Clark and Antoine Laliberté who remained consistent and found themselves in the lead. The team only won one competitive stage, the last of the event, but completed each stage in the Top 4 en route to their success.

Ontarians Jeremy Drake and Deric Jackson finished in second place, 1 minute and 2.2 seconds. The podium was completed by French-American Emmanuel Cecchet, co-driven by Quebecker Jonathan Desgroseilliers, who finished 2 minutes, 21.7 seconds behind the winners. The lone 100% female team registered, the duo of Margaret Sharron / Jennie Holden completed the rally in fourth place, after a close battle with Cecchet/Desgroseilliers in the second half of the event.

In fifth place, Michel Drapeau and Jean-Sébastien Delisle finished ahead of Ryan Rouleau and Jordan Sien to complete a Top 6 overall entirely made up of Subaru.

Seventh overall was Mark Toufanov and David Bell with their 2 wheel-drive Toyota GT86, beating Michal Gielas and Jacek Gielas in their 4WD Subaru Impreza Production by nine seconds.

The two wheel-drive podium was completed by Eric Vanderwal/Alton Gonsalves (Mazda RX8) and Grant Rawcliffe/Brandon Pace (Ford Focus). These two teams also finished 8th and 9th overall, in front of Jim Morton and Ian Lantz (Mitsubishi Lancer).

Expected to battle Clark/Laliberté for the victory, Marc Bourassa and Élise Racette (Subaru WRX STI) were competing in their first event of the season at this Black Bear Rally. Eventual winners of three special stages, they had lost all hopes of completing the rally on the podium when they suffered alternator problems right at the start and had to miss the first two stages, for which they were allocated a fixed time. The duo finished in twelfth place overall ahead of the Mazda 3 of Roderik Jones/Audrey Godin.

Éric Courchesne and Patrick Lévesque were also unlucky in their Ford Fiesta 4 wheel-drive. After dominating the first half of the rally by setting 4 fastest times, they abandoned the event two stages before the end. They were the only team entered that did not make it to the finish.

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 early September with a return to Quebec for Montpellier’s Rallye Défi Petite Nation, in the Outaouais region.

Calendrier 2023