Press Release - November 26 - 2023.

J.S.Besner/Y.Joyal - Tall Pines Rally 2023

Jean-Sébastien Besner and Yvan Joyal
Win the Tall Pines Rally and Confirm Their 2023 Title

November 26 2023.- Five weeks after claiming their 2023 championship title at the Rallye de Charlevoix, Montrealers Jean-Sébastien Besner and Yvan Joyal won the Tall Pines Rally, contested in the Bancroft region of Ontario. The event, presented this past weekend, was the final round of the 2023 Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC).

As usual, the Tall Pines offered its competitors quite the challenge with a thin layer of snow, and sometimes ice, covering the gravel roads and leaving the region’s fast roads particularly tricky. This makes up the charm and the challenge of an event that has been a classic Canadian rally for over half a century. With more experienced than anyone else in the ECRC at the Tall Pines rally, an event that they’ve both contested in the 1990s, Jean-Sébastien Besner and Yvan Joyal dominated the ECRC portion of the event from start to finish, despite mechanical issues that halted their Ford Fiesta R5 three times during the eighth competitive stage.

They won the rally, for the fifth time this season, by a margin of two minutes and 23 seconds over Ontarians Jeremy Drake and Deric Jackson (Subaru WRX STI). The novice team of Drake/Jackson had a flawless day. The podium was completed by Vincent Trudel, who earned his second consecutive podium in his Subaru WRX STI (Production Class). For this event, Trudel was co-driven by Albertan Michael Szewczyk.

The battle for fourth place was something to keep an eye on in this rally as American Emmanuel Cecchet, co-driven by Quebecker Jonathan Desgroseilliers, and Ontarians Trevor Pougnet and Ryan Rouleau (both driving Subarus) had to contend with the 2-wheel drive leader hot on their heels. Nicolas Laverdière was back to competition for this event, co-driven by Marc-Olivier Lamontagne in a Ford Fiesta ST. In the end, Cecchet/Desgroseilliers finished ahead of Pougnet/Rouleau by 39 seconds, with Laverdière/Lamontagne another 40 second back.

Martin Donnelly and Cezary Maciocha (Subaru WRX STI) finished in seventh spot, ten seconds in front of Sébastien Clark and Patrick Lévesque (Subaru WRX STI). William Pardiac and Manuel Arsenault (also in a Subaru) followed in ninth place.

N.Laverdière/M.O.Lamontagne - Tall Pines Rally 2023
Photo :  © Paul Murray / CRC Rally

In 2-wheel drive, Nicolas Laverdière and Marc-Olivier Lamontagne built a lead of a little more than two minutes ahead of their closest competitors, Jonathan Drake and Brandon Pace (Ford Focus). In a rally where the gaps amongst Top 10 finishers were relatively small, the Ontarian duo finished tenth overall, ahead of the Subaru of Michel Drapeau and Jean-Sébastien Delisle, and third place 2WD finishers Eric Vanderwal and Alton Gonsalves (Mazda RX8).

16 of the 18 registered ECRC teams (of the total 26 event starters) finished the rally. Rookie Zachary Bourassa, co-driven by Érika Séguin (Subaru), went off the road while Mark Toufanov/David Bell (Toyota GT86) abandoned with mechanical problems.

The Eastern Canadian Rally Championship (ECRC) is comprised of seven rounds this season, taking place between Ontario and Quebec. The 2024 season will re-start in February with the traditional running of the Rallye Perce-Neige Maniwaki, in Québec.

ECRC 2023 Calendar (updated March 1st)