Two of Canada's best known and most successful rally competitors will carry the Yokohama Tire colours when they face off against a national field of challengers - and each other - in a quest for the 2009 Canadian Rally Championship, Yokohama Tire (Canada) Inc. has announced.
Two-time Canadian Rally Champion Antoine L'Estage will join perennial front-runner Andrew Comrie-Picard as the Yokohama standard-bearers when the Canadian championship kicks off its season next month. Both drivers will compete in highly evolved versions of 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution sport sedans entered in the championship's tough Open Class.
Yokohama will also support the 2009 Canadian Rally Championship as a corporate sponsor.
Year after year, the Canadian Rally Championship has proven to be more than just a great competition and a terrific television spectacle," says Jonathon Karelse, manager of marketing for Yokohama Canada. "It's also a real-world demonstration of our dedication to advancing tire technology. Particularly for winter tires, where our wining teams compete on the same tires you can buy for your car on the street, we can draw a direct line between success in competition and benefit for the consumer."
Both L'Estage, of St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, and Comrie-Picard, of Toronto, will utilize Yokohama Ice Guard IG 20 winter tires when the season kicks off February 7, 2009, at the treacherous Rally Perce-Neige in Maniwaki, Quebec.
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 Ice Guard IG 20 winter tires for the icy roads and winter conditions of Canadian rallies," Karelse contends.
Yokohama has been a supporter of rally motorsport in Canada for more than a decade.
The Canadian Rally Championship has been televised nationally since 1993, and the 2008 series was made available on multiple media platforms, including as downloads from iTunes, on-line on Flat Over Crest (www.flatovercrest.com) and to 80 million homes in Europe on MotorsTV.
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, forestry and construction applications. It maintains distribution centres across Canada to serve more than 700 independent tire dealers."