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Catch the Vibe!

Over 96 Canadian journalists from coast to coast are now taking part in a four-team battle. Actually, it's more of a nationwide rally that started in Montreal last week and will end in Vancouver on April 17.

Who came up with this idea? The answer is General Motors, which brought together nearly 100 members of the media (and not just auto journalists) to help the all-new 2009 Pontiac Vibe make a smashing debut.

Competitors from the four teams -- Flex, Traction, Performance and Style -- have to showcase their photography and video skills as well as their general knowledge on the three largest regions in Canada.

We at Auto123.com could not pass up such an opportunity to try out the new Vibe and play modern-day adventurers. Four of our own writers (one in each team) registered for the Montreal event. Meanwhile, two others will participate in the Ontario rally.

But enough said. Let's see what our rally participants think of this competition and the new Pontiac Vibe.


Marc Bouchard - Team Flex
The challenge is pretty daunting and humbling. Of course, since we're used to drive all the latest products from the auto industry, exploring the city with the new Vibe was not really a unique experience. That said, we liked its redesigned exterior and refined driving dynamics. The more powerful and more flexible engine is definitely what impressed us the most. But honestly, just a few kilometers into the race, after realizing all the things we had to accomplish and the answers we had to find, the driving part wasn't so important anymore...

For instance, finding a voluntary photographer at the Casino (someone who would agree to leave his or her slot machine and know how to manipulate a Blackberry) is quite a feat in itself, perhaps a miracle. That explains the significant blur in the picture we sent in, even though you can clearly see the beautiful Cadillac in the background.

The most awkward moment came when we entered a drug store in Repentigny, on the North shore of Montreal. With the help of a beautician, I had to draw the logo of the Montreal Canadiens on the cheek of my colleague, Alain Morin -- under the inquiring eye of customers who seemed to flock to the store.

And how could I forget the two videos we shot, one during a mandatory carwash session and the other at a nearby track, where I successfully ran a 400-meter. Ultimately, this exercise allowed us to put the Vibe through its paces in a crowded urban setting.