The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood ended early for Rally America and Canadian Rally Championship contender Crazy Leo Urlichich and his co-driver Carl Williamson.

Urlichich and Williamson went off the road and crashed into a tree on Stage 9 after a previously damaged tie-rod finally gave way. The crew had tried to repair the tie rod prior to their off but the temporary fix snapped, causing Leo to lose the steering as they negotiated a fast right-hand turn. CrazyLeo had started Saturday's stages in fourth overall only 25.1 seconds adrift from ex-European champion Krzysztof Holowczyc and was looking for yet another podium finish.

Can-Jam Motorsports had worked feverishly for two solid weeks leading up to the event. Previously, in the Rally Perce-Neige the car had suffered major damage from a hard collision with a hydro pole. Additionally the team had miraculously continued to develop their Subaru and had several improvements to their suspension which was tested in the days leading up to 100 Acre Wood.

Thousands of enthusiastic fans showed to see rally superstar Ken Block take on North America’s finest in the foothills of the Ozarks and they were treated to some flatout gravel stages and intense competition.

Leo and Williamson got off to a rough start, suffering a puncture in the first mile but pressing on, still getting major speed and air to the delight of the fans. They would end the day in 4th, but within striking distance of a podium finish.

Their luck would not improve on day 2. A second puncture caused significant damage to the tie-rod. An attempt was made to fix it temporarily in an effort to continue but a fast, 4th gear right hand corner was too much for the damaged part and it broke, causing Leo to lose the steering and hurl the Subaru into the trees on the outside of the corner. Enough damage was done to end their day.

“The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood proved to be very difficult to conquer,” said Urlichich. “The roads were very slippery from loose gravel, and not as flowing and fast as I've expected. Despite the team preparing a great car and Carl calling the notes perfectly, I couldn't come to grips with my driving,” he added.

“Well, the first gravel rally together and I've discovered that Leo doesn't know how to have an 'easy' rally,” stated co-driver Williamson. “We had a puncture on the very first mile of the first stage and Leo went faster on 3 wheels than much of the field did on 4. It didn't stop him getting some of the biggest air on the jumps on that stage either. Can-Jam Motorsports moved heaven and earth to get us a great car in 2 weeks, after we demolished the rear end in Perce-Neige. Now we've given them a bit more work to do. Also, after Perce-Neige, and taking down trees in the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, I'm convinced that Leo and 'The Beast' have a vendetta against anything vertical blocking the horizon."

100AW 2012 Overall Results After Stage 17 - Provisional

1. Ken Block/Alex Gelsomino 1:31:38.9&;

2. David Higgins/Craig Drew +29.3;

3. Krzysztof Holowczyc/Maciej Wislawski +9:10.9

DNF. LEO URLICHICH/CARL WILLIAMSON

Next up for the team is Rally America’s Oregon Trail Rally, May 4-6.

Crazy Leo is proudly supported by Can-Jam Motorsports, CSCS, SpecLube, Motul, Glonass, Rally Armor & MSI.

Photo: Scott Rains/www.rainsphotography.com