Leonid "Crazy Leo" Urlichich (born 2 February 1985 in Moscow, USSR) is a Russian-born Canadian rally driver currently competing in the Canadian and the US national championships. He drives for a Toronto-based team Can-Jam Motorsports and has expressed ambitions to compete in the World Rally Championship.
Urlichich is notable for winning the second gravel rally he has ever finished.
At the age of 17 Urlichich enrolled in Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, where he perused a Business Administration degree. He first drove competitively while at university, at the local rally cross events in his daily-driven Subaru WRX STi.
2007 marked his first performance rally, Rallye Perce-Neige Maniwaki, held in Quebec.
2008 Black Bear rally earned Urlichich his first ever performance rally victory. Urlichich and co-driver Dave Shindle won the event after setting the fastest times on all but the last stage against more experienced Peter Thomson and Andrew Comrie-Picard.
The 2010 season was Urlichich’s full season in the Canadian Rally Championship. Rally Baie-des-Chaleurs delivered his first national podium, as he finished second. Urlichich finished fifth overall in the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship.
2011 season saw Urlichich team up with an Irish co-driver Martin Brady. The team has competed in eight events across Canada. Urlichich lost Rallye de Charlevoix to Antoine L’Estage and John Buffum (who was co-driving at this event) by one second. At the end of the season Urlichich and Brady won Rally of the Tall Pines and finished second in the Championship.David Higgins, who finished second in the event noted that the rally was one of the most difficult in his career due to the nature of stages.
2012 was Urlichich’s inaugural season in the Rally America championship in the United States. Partnered with an experienced Welsh co-driver Carl Williamson, Urlichich has won a stage at the debut Sno*Drift rally and finished the event third, later to be penalized to sixth place due to the substrate of the catalytic converter missing. At the second rally of the year Urlichich crashed heavily into a telegraph pole, but despite serious damage to his car, he was able to finish second overall. The video of the accident went viral on YouTube getting over 1.4 million views.
Urlichich and Williamson finished second in the Canadian Championship, second in the North American Rally Cup, and fifth in the Rally America National Championship.
Urlichich was absent from full-time competition in 2013, spending time in Europe working on a program to compete in one of the Support Categories of the World Rally Championship in 2014.
Co-drivers and pacenotes
Over the years Urlichich has competed with nine different co-drivers, including a Welsh co-driver Carl Williamson, who has co-driven for Jari-Matti Latvala in the Stobart Ford World Rally Team.
Urlichich has claimed on multiple occasions that he recognizes the importance of Pacenotes in modern rallying. According to Williamson, Urlichich has developed a “rather unique Pacenote system”, which was designed from scratch and uses some Finnish words.
Personality and social media
Urlichich is known for his passion about rallying and his quirky behavior that shows through his interviews. His public persona matches his personality, which has gained Urlichich a sizeable social media following, larger than that of any other rally driver in North America, except Ken Block and Travis Pastrana.
On July 22 and 23, 2011 Urlichich competed in the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship race at the legendary Mosport International Raceway, where he struggled and had to use his skills of driving on dirt during his off track excursions.
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"'Crazy Leo' tackles the Tall Pines". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
"2008 Black Bear Rally General Results". Maple Leaf Rally Club. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
"2006 Rallycross Championship Standings". Maple Leaf Rally Club. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
"Rallye Perce Neige 2007, General Results". RallyScoring.com. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
"All stages in detail using FIA progressive results type, 2008 Black Bear Rally". Maple Leaf Rally Club. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
"Richard wins Baie after final stage drama". Flat Over Crest. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
"2010 Canadian Rally Championship, Final Point Standings". Rally Racing News. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
"2011 Rallye de Charlevoix 2011 General Results". Rally Scoring. Retrieved 2012-02-06.