After three events in Quebec, the Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC) presented its fourth event of the 2022 season in Ontario last weekend at the traditional Black Bear Rally.
A rally in the dust and the summer heat, with such prestigious winners as the American Travis Pastrana. This time, only crews from Ontario and Quebec were entered, with Jonathan Drake and Ian Lantz winning.
Originally from Kingston, Ontario, Drake was driving his usual Subaru Impreza WRX. With Ian Lantz (London, ON) as co-driver, he led the second half of the event after taking advantage of the two minute penalty (for entering a control zone early) given to Matthew Ballinger and Crawford New. This duo was leading since the second stage of the day with their Subaru Impreza WRX. In the end, Ballinger and New finished one minute and nine seconds behind Drake/Lantz in second place.
The podium was completed by a third Ontario crew, Trevor Pougnet and Ryan Rouleau of Ottawa. They too were on Subaru Impreza WRX. They finished 2’32” behind the winners.
Fourth all categories and winners of the 2WD class with their historic Volvo 242 Turbo, Quebecers Charles Hammer and Guillaume Dozois led their class throughout the eight timed stages of the rally. Their battle with a much more modern car, the Ford Fiesta ST of Sean McConnachie and John Gerryts, animated much of the event. Only 7.5 seconds separated the two rivals at the finish.
The podium in the two-wheel drive class was completed by Mark Toufanov and Justin Ranni (Toyota FR-S). They also finished Top 6 overall, ahead of Chuck Storry and Zvonimir Bracika in a spectacular Lancia Delta Integrale.
In the Production 2WD class, Roderick Jones and Sam Roxon (Mazda 3) won, while Andrew Wallbank and David Bell (Subaru WRX STI) had to withdraw due to an engine problem. This crew had set the fastest time on the first stage and looked capable of holding off Drake/Lantz and Ballinger/New for the all-category win until they retired.
Grant Rawcliffe and Brandon Pace (Ford Focus) also had to withdraw from the Black Bear Rally 2022, which marked the halfway point in the Eastern Canadian Rally Championship.
In the drivers’ championship, Matthew Ballinger is first in the 4WD class. With 44 points, he is 17 points ahead of Trevor Pougnet and 19 ahead of Quebec’s Olivier Martel. In the 2WD class, Hans Larose remains the comfortable leader.
The Canadian Eastern Rally Championship (CERC) has eight events this season, divided between Ontario and Quebec. The next event will take place during the Rallye Défi Petite-Nation, in the Outaouais region of Quebec, on September 9 and 10.