I won? Rally driver wins surprise award

Taghum's Iannick Lemaire earned a trophy for his rookie season.

Taghum's Iannick Lemaire

Taghum's Iannick Lemaire

Iannick Lemaire thought it was a mistake.

The Taghum resident and rally car driver won an award for his rookie 2015 season in December. Except he only found out about it last month.

“They called me a few weeks ago. ‘Oh you never came to the ceremony. Give us your address so we can mail you your trophy.’ I was like, what trophy? I actually had no clue,” said Lemaire, who the Star profiled in March.

Lemaire and his co-driver David Ma won second place in the production two-wheel drive class of the Western Canada Rally Championship despite finishing 14th at one event and failing to complete two others.

What he didn’t realize was that the Saturday of each race weekend counted as points toward the regional championship, while the race itself was part of the national Canadian Rally Championship series. So Lemaire was earning points he never knew he had. “Both times I crashed at the end, I had already won the regional event,” he said.

This season, Lemaire and Ma have made a switch to the open two-wheel drive division. They finished 20th at the Cochrane Winter Rally in March, and are coming off a DNF at Invermere’s Rocky Mountain Rally in June.

Lemaire and Ma had a promising recce, or reconnaissance lap, prior to the race. Their car, a 1988 Volkswagen Golf, had been upgraded with fresh tires and a new rally computer. But just seven kilometres into the race the head gasket blew up.

“I’d rather hit the ditch at the end of the race,” said Lemaire. “At least I’d have had some fun.”

The pair have three more races this season, with their next event in Merritt on Sept. 30.