Rally champ ices title with consumer winter tires

Rally champ ices title with consumer winter tires

In the last half of the last day of the last event of the year, reigning Canadian rally champion Antoine L’Estage turned to consumer winter tires from Yokohama to win one of the country’s toughest rallies and help secure his second consecutive Canadian Rally Championship.

For L’Estage, it was the culmination of a year spent pursuing the national title but not the first time the team has called on Yokohama winter tire technology to come through when it counted most.

L’Estage and co-driver Natalie Richard were virtually tied for the lead of November’s Rally of the Tall Pines when the team selected Yokohama Ice Guard tires to negotiate the icy roads and winter conditions in the closing hours of the season’s final rally. L’Estage and Richard, from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, turned their teamwork, driving skill, car preparation and traction from their winter tires into a decisive victory in the rally and their second national title.

It was the fifth win of 2007 for L’Estage, Richard and their powerful Hyundai Tiburon, and the sixth consecutive victory in the series for competitors using Yokohama tires.

While the six-event Canadian Rally Championship literally takes teams from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in every season, in every driving condition, it is the severe challenges of the winter events that forge an important link between professional rally drivers and consumers seeking the security, safety and predictable performance of winter tires for everyday use.

“What makes rallying so appealing to us, and what makes our involvement so relevant to our customers, is the fact that our teams can use regular street tires like the new Ice Guard IG 20 winter tires for the icy roads and winter conditions of Canadian rallies,” reflects Brad Sherwin, marketing communications manager for Yokohama Tire (Canada) Inc. “We think there’s no better real-world endorsement of our tires than success in Canadian rallies.”

The new Ice Guard IG 20 automobile tires, and companion Geolandar I/T G072 winter tires for light trucks and SUVs, were introduced across Canada this fall. Both the new Ice Guard IG 20 and Geolandar I/T lines utilize sophisticated new compounds featuring shelled microbubble and absorptive carbon flakes, as well as highly evolved tread designs optimized for each application.

In addition to the Yokohama Ice Guard winter tires, L’Estage and Richard rely on highly specialized Yokohama competition tires for the rugged mountain and forestry roads in the spring, summer and fall rally events.

Yokohama Tire (Canada) Inc. markets and distributes a full line of tires for high performance, passenger car, light truck, and commercial truck applications, as well as off-the-road tires for mining and construction applications. It maintains distribution centres across Canada to serve more than 800 independent tire dealers.